PIA02903: A Smorgasbord of Landforms
 Target Name:  Eros
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  NEAR Shoemaker 
 Spacecraft:  NEAR Shoemaker
 Instrument:  Multi-Spectral Imager 
 Product Size:  372 x 477 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Johns Hopkins University/APL
 Addition Date:  2000-06-10
 Primary Data Set:  NEAR Home Page
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA02903.tif (153.7 kB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA02903.jpg (25.02 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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The images of Eros being returned by NEAR Shoemaker reveal a surprising diversity of interesting features. Many people's preconceptions of asteroids come from cinematic special effects that depict asteroids as little more than oversized tumbling rocks, perhaps tattered by strange, jagged landforms.

This image, taken April 17, 2000, from a distance of 101 kilometers (63 miles), suggests three words that could describe this asteroid: rocky, ridged, and rounded. The large boulder in the far left-center of the image measures more than 70 meters (230 feet) across. The ridge in the lower section of the frame is part of a feature that continues around a substantial part of the asteroid's middle. And although some of the small craters appear fresh and sharp, most of their rims have been rounded off by eons of relentless pounding by small, impacting meteors.

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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