In NEAR Shoemaker's long-awaited close-up images of Eros, the asteroid's small-scale features are revealing their fascinating diversity. This picture, taken July 8, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 36 kilometers (22 miles), shows a variety of differently shaped boulders. Some are nearly round, whereas others are elongated or even blade-shaped. Such varied shapes might arise from differences in the strength and fracturing of preexisting rock. The whole scene is 1.4 kilometers (0.8 miles) across.
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.