Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Carmen TornowEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_5205-1


(2) Pallas named after Greek goddess Pallas Athena is located in the main asteroid belt between 2.13 AU and 3.41 AU (http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi). Its inclination is higher than the one of the majority of numbered asteroids. Pallas revolves in 4.61 years around the sun and rotates in 7.81 h around itself. With a radiometric diameter of 545 km, it is the second largest asteroid after (1) Ceres. However, due to its lower density (2,762 kg/m3) it has only 81 % of the mass contained in (4) Vesta. As a B-type asteroid its chemical composition can be related to the one of carbonaceous chondrites subjected to some thermal processing.


The discovery of Pallas on March 28, 1802, by astronomer Heinrich W. M. Olbers was a lucky coincidence since it passed Ceres during this time. Olbers tried to verify the positions of Ceres predicted by Carl F. Gauss, 1801. At that time astronomers thought that a planet would orbit between Mars and Jupiter according to the Titus–Bode...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Planetary ResearchGerman Aerospace CenterBerlinGermany