The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft snapped the image on the left (Image of the Day Feb. 13, 2000 B) during its approach to Eros on Feb. 11, 2000, from a range of 2590 kilometers (1,609 miles). This image shows a heart-shaped depression about 5 km (3 miles) long. The image mosaic on the right was taken from 204 km (127 miles) on March 3, 2000 and reveals that the mysterious heart-shaped feature is actually 3 separate craters. The oblique lighting conditions and low resolution of the earlier image created the illusion of a heart shape.
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.