Peanuts, Croissants and Piles of Rubble – Images of SSSBs
By definition, SSSBs are too small to be spherical. As a consequence, the group includes some of the oddest-looking objects in the Solar System.
Comet Hartley 2 was famously photographed by NASA’s Deep Impact probe in November 2010, revealing a peanut-shaped object that has been described as “a cross between a bowling pin and a pickle."
The Galileo probe imaged the asteroid 243 Ida in 1993, during its journey to Jupiter – the first time a flyby of an asteroid had been attempted. Resembling a croissant, 243 Ida is thought to comprise two solid bodies joined by a bridge of loose material. Due to this unusual shape, Ida's gravity is lower in the middle than at either end. If an astronaut were able to walk from one end of the asteroid to the other, he or she would first lose weight, then gain it again.
Another strangely shaped asteroid is 4179 Toutatis, which caused a stir in 2004 when a close pass by Earth raised concerns that it might one day collide with our planet. Toutatis has been described as a “rubble pile" due to its appearance, which suggests that, like 243 Ida, it was formed by the coalescence of smaller bodies.