Space missions to the outer solar system and to Earth orbit crossing asteroids have recently sent back surprising images of distant worlds.
Contrary to expectations, Pluto and Charon’s satellites are rapidly rotating, and like Uranus, their spins are tilted into their orbit plane. Wide canyons traverse Charon and Dione. The surfaces of asteroids Bennu and Ryugu are nearly craterless, coarse boulder fields. Our ignorance of the internal composition of asteroids and moons hampers the design of sample return missions, the development of mining methods and Earth impact mitigation strategies, and our study of their formation and evolution. With laboratory experiments on heterogeneous granular media and computational techniques developed in graphics computing to simulate soft body deformation and spin, I will recount efforts to better understand the internal material response and evolution of these diverse worlds.