PIA02950: The Color of Regolith
 Target Name:  Eros
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  NEAR Shoemaker 
 Spacecraft:  NEAR Shoemaker
 Instrument:  Multi-Spectral Imager 
 Product Size:  375 x 468 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Johns Hopkins University/APL
 Addition Date:  2000-08-05
 Primary Data Set:  NEAR Home Page
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA02950.tif (551.2 kB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA02950.jpg (27.06 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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On June 14, 2000, NEAR Shoemaker trained its camera on Eros' large, 5.3-kilometer (3.3-mile) diameter crater for a series of color pictures intended to measure the properties of regolith inside the asteroid's craters. In this false color view -- taken from an altitude of 50 kilometers (31 miles) -- redder hues represent rock and regolith that have been altered chemically by exposure to the solar wind and small impacts. Bluer hues represent fresher, less-altered rock and regolith, such as the bright patches that have been less affected by "space weathering." In that process, during micrometeorite impacts, rock reacts with miniscule amounts of trapped solar wind and is chemically changed. Interestingly, most of the large boulders have been just as affected as the regolith. This suggests either that the rocks are relatively old, or that they are "dirty" from an adhering film of regolith particles.

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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