Credit & Copyright: NEAR Project, JHU APL, NASAExplanation: On December 23, 1998 the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft flew by asteroid 433 Eros. The robotic spacecraft was intended to brake and orbit Eros, but an unexpected shutdown of its main engine caused this plan to be aborted. Now closing with the asteroid again, NEAR will make another attempt to enter Eros' orbit on February 14th ... Valentine's Day, of course! A successful encounter would make NEAR the first spacecraft ever to orbit an asteroid. This image sequence was taken as NEAR approached Eros in 1998. The rotation of the asteroid is visible in the successive frames. While cruising through the solar system, NEAR has also been hunting for gamma-ray bursts as part of the operational Interplanetary Network.
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: NEAR project - 433 Eros
Publications with words: NEAR project - 433 Eros