Grand Tour Asteroids

Tips for creating and manipulating planet textures for Celestia.
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Grand Tour Asteroids

Post #1by Shadow-Dragon-777 » 13.07.2023, 00:07

Vesta is the third largest object in the main asteroid belt.

Following the discovery of Ceres in 1801, a search began for more planets in the sky. After all, it was only decades earlier Uranus was discovered after millennia of there being six known planets. In 1802, Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers discovered Pallas, then there was Juno, Vesta, Astraea, Hebe, Iris, Flora, Metis, and Hygeia. At this point and following Neptunes discovery in 1846 with apparent small size of the other new planets, they were termed "Asteroids" for they were small and resembled stars without disks. At first asteroids were thought to reside safely in what is known as the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and much fiction arose of a destroyed planet often called "Phaeton". These would later be discredited when modern ideas of planetary formation arose and Jupiter's presence simply prevented these asteroids from coalescing into a planet to begin with. In 1992, 15760 Albion was discovered and heralded the discovery of a second belt of minor planets now known as the Kuiper Belt. Unlike the main belt, they are predominantly icy, rather than rocky.
Toutatis is a potentially hazardous asteroid. Topography shown.

It was known comets came close to Earth since ancient times but asteroids were a new species of wayward minor planets. They seemed confined beyond Mars and the idea of one coming close to Earth was not to enter most minds. In 1898, nearly a century after Ceres was discovered, 433 Eros was found to have an orbit crossing that of Mars and speculation began to grow. "Could one of these hit a planet?". Ten years later, the answer was revealed. Over the nearly uninhabited forests of Siberia one morning, an explosion occurred that was at the time rivaled by events like the eruption of Krakatoa. An area nearly the size of Luxembourg was flattened of all trees. For decades, the cause of the explosion would remain a mystery. It was only in the mid 20th century when the atomic bomb was being tested by the thousands and missions to the moon did the extraterrestrial nature of the blast become accepted. At the same time, the disappearance of the dinosaurs was a longstanding question. In 1936, the asteroid 69230 Hermes passed close to Earth and the realization struck, these rocks can come to cross Earth's orbit and if timed right, hit it. In the mid 20th century a gravitational anomaly was discovered under the Yucatan Peninsula. When drilling rigs sampled the structure, they found it dated to 65 million years ago, concurrent with a layer of unusually high concentration of of iridium in sediment globally... and the demise of the dinosaurs. Today it is accepted a large asteroid 16 kilometers struck the Earth causing a multi ringed crater, uplifting massive amounts of debris and plunging the planet into an ice age that killed the dinosaurs.

Asteroids has been a subject of science fiction. From impossible to navigate fields like in Star Wars, to the threat of a planet killer impacting Earth. The popular image of an asteroid as a large potato shaped rock existed before the first spacecraft encounter with one of them. In 1991, the Galileo spacecraft flew by the asteroid 951 Gaspra confirming this popular image. A few years later, 243 Ida was found to have a moon named Dactyl. In 2001, the NEAR spacecraft landed on 433 Eros, transmitting signals from the surface for a short time after. In 2010, the Hayabusa probe returned samples from 25143 Itokawa, and in 2022, the DART mission spectacularly tested the concept of planetary defense by impacting into the asteroid moon Dimorphos.
Dactyl with real texture along with parent, 243 Ida.


The Grand Tour Asteroids adds textures to several of these rocks including: Vesta, Pallas, Castalia, Ida, Dactyl, Eros, Toutatis, and Gaspra.
NOTE: There are several issues with this addon in 1.7.0 vanilla due to Celestia missing a lot of potatoes or issues with said potato models.
Arrokoth's model is off by 90 degrees (IE the topography texture is correct, but the texture pole for the model is defined incorrectly.
Itokawa's model does not render textures as it is the wrong format.
Annefrank, Bennu, Camilla, Daphne, Hebe, Lutetia, Mathilde, Psyche, Ryugu, and Steins are not in 1.7.0 by default.

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