asteroid Eros! This long mosaic was constructed of images returned yesterday by the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft as it orbited to within 6.4 kilometers of a spot in the southern hemisphere of the rotating asteroid's surface. That distance (about 21,000 feet) is less than the cruising altitude of most commercial airline flights. The digital images show that while many regions appear smooth with craters filled in by an accumulation of loose regolith, much of Eros' surface is littered with rocks and boulders. The large boulder glinting in the sunlight at the far left, just above the center of the mosaic, spans approximately 25 meters. In the high-resolution view, the smallest rocks visible are roughly human-sized at about 1.4 meters (5 feet) across. The car-sized Near Shoemaker spacecraft is now on its way to a higher, more stable orbit about 200 kilometers above asteroid Eros.
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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: 433 Eros - asteroid
Publications with words: 433 Eros - asteroid