NEAR Shoemaker photographed this area of Eros on December 18, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 33 kilometers (21 miles). This part of the asteroid's surface, like many others, appears vaguely "sculptured" due to its low, elongated ridges and depressions with seemingly consistent orientations. Some of the low spots also contain accumulations of smooth, pond-like materials. Neither the surface sculpturing nor the pond-like materials are well understood, and both will be investigated in detail using even higher-resolution images from NEAR Shoemaker's low passes over Eros in early 2001. The whole scene is about 1 kilometer (0.6 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.