PIA02464: NEAR Historic First Image from Eros Orbit
 Target Name:  Eros
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  NEAR Shoemaker 
 Spacecraft:  NEAR Shoemaker
 Instrument:  Multi-Spectral Imager 
 Product Size:  640 x 691 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Johns Hopkins University/APL
 Addition Date:  2000-05-07
 Primary Data Set:  NEAR Home Page
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA02464.tif (183.6 kB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA02464.jpg (23.18 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

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February 14, 2000, at 10:33 AM EST the NEAR spacecraft was successfully inserted into orbit around 433 Eros, becoming the first artificial satellite of an asteroid. Just over an hour later, NEAR pointed its camera at the asteroid and took this picture from a range of 210 miles (330 km) above the surface. Mission navigators and operators will use this image and others to be taken later to triangulate on landmarks on the asteroid's surface, precisely measuring position of the spacecraft to plot NEAR's course.

Features as small as a 100 feet (30 meters) across can be seen. This view shows the 3-mile (5-kilometer) impact crater which the spacecraft has spied for over a week during its approach. The two smaller craters superimposed on its rim are each about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) across. An enormous boulder a full 170 feet (50 meters) in size sits on the large crater's floor. Other key features of the surface are shallow subsurface layering exposed near the tops of crater walls, and shallow grooves crossing the surface and cutting the crater's rim.

Built and managed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, NEAR was the first spacecraft launched in NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, small-scale planetary missions. See the NEAR web page at http://near.jhuapl.edu/ for more details.

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