A high-resolution mosaic of Ida shows a highly irregular body (roughly 56 km long), heavily covered with craters, with many interesting geological features, including grooves, blocks, chutes, dark-floored craters, and crater chains. A satellite of Ida, with a preliminary designation of 1993 (243) 1, was discovered in orbit around Ida. It is approximately 1.5 km in diameter, has an albedo and spectral reflectance not grossly different from Ida, and orbits Ida in a prograde direction with a period of roughly 20 hr. No other comparable-sized satellites have been found near Ida. New pictures of the opposite side of Ida reveal an irregular, dog-bone shape, with a prominent gouge that seems to separate Ida into two chief components. A V-shaped valley, well shown in the highest-resolution view of Ida returned in April, may mark a modest expression on the September face of the more dramatic feature on the back side. Ida's dense population of craters shows a wide diversity of morphologies, consistent with the surface having been subjected to saturated bombardment by smaller projectiles. Assuming the same projectile flux applies to Ida was used in deriving Gaspra's cratering age of about 200 m.y., and assuming that Gaspra and Ida both have the same impact strength, then the age of Ida's surface is calculated to be 1-2 b.y. This is considerably older than expected from other evidence concerning the Koronis family. Our favored explanation of Ida's satellite is that it (or a precursor satellite from which the present satellite was derived) formed during the catastrophic disruption event that formed Ida itself and formed the Koronis family of asteroids. Perhaps, instead, the satellite is a block ejected from a cratering impact. In any case, smaller blocks visible on some parts of Ida are more certain to be crater ejecta, whether or not they were ever temporary satellites.
Meteoritics (ISSN 0026-1114); 29; 4; p. 455