NEAR Shoemaker's camera captured this oblique view of the wall of Eros' saddle on June 19, 2000, from an altitude of 51 kilometers (32 miles). Curvature in the wall, combined with brightness banding in the left portion of the picture, give the surface a surreal, taffy-like appearance. The bright patches may originate from exposure of subsurface material that hasn't been darkened by small impacts and solar wind. These patches are juxtaposed, at the bottom left-center of the picture, with a mysterious dark apron surrounding a 150-meter (490-foot) diameter crater. The whole scene is approximately 1.2 kilometers (0.7 miles) top to bottom.
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.