- © 2014 by the Mineralogical Society of America
Asteroids are arguably the most accessible remnants of building blocks of the early Solar System and an essential piece of the terrestrial planet–formation puzzle. Determining their compositions and physical properties can provide important and otherwise unobtainable information concerning the origin, structure, and dynamic history of the Solar System, as well as insights into the sources of materials from which the terrestrial planets were constructed. Our understanding of the compositional structure of the asteroid belt and of individual asteroids has advanced significantly since the 1970s. Strong associations between asteroids and meteorites are emerging thanks to multitechnique observations, the synthesis of observations and modeling, in situ measurements, and sample-return missions.