NEAR Shoemaker took this picture at 8:45 p.m. EST on January 25, 2001, during one of the spacecraft's low-altitude passes over the surface of Eros. The distance to the center of the picture is only 9 kilometers (5.6 miles), so the entire scene is a mere 340 meters (1,120 feet) across. At this scale, we can distinguish features less than 2 meters across. The asteroid's surface appears nearly devoid of obvious craters and is instead dominated by small boulders. In the upper left part of the image, a smooth deposit with a lower density of boulders is in contrast to the very rough-textured material seen at the lower right.
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.