"We are now on the threshold of a new era of asteroid studies," wrote Tom Gehrels in 1971 (Gehrels, 1971). These words proved quite prophetic for the three decades of physical observations and theoretical understanding that followed. As the third century of asteroid research has begun in 2001, we can once again picture ourselves standing on a new threshold. This new century begins with asteroids no longer being starlike points of light in our telescopes, but resolved worlds with distinctly measurable, sizes, shapes, and surface morphologies. Each has a unique history to unravel, a history that begins at the time of formation of our own planet and the entire solar system.
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