This is a group of photographs taken of Eros by the NEAR spacecraft during its approach.
Click on image for full size
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland.
Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft is the first one to ever orbit an asteroid. NEAR was launched in 1996, and finally reached Eros on February 14, 2000. On its way to Eros it flew by asteroid Mathilde for a quick look.
Eros is one of the largest asteroids near Earth. It was discovered in 1898. Eros is large enough to have a small gravitational pull, which allows NEAR to stay in orbit. The mission was one of the first to be a part of the Discovery Program, a low cost exploration program set up by NASA.
NEAR has six instruments that it will use to study Eros. An imager will take photographs, a magnetometer will search for a magnetic field, and spectrometers will analyze the asteroid's makeup. The goals of the mission are simple; learn as much as we can about these miniature planets.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
On June 27, 1997, the NEAR spacecraft passed very close to the asteroid Mathilde. NEAR stands for Near Earth Asteroid Rendevous. Mathilde is a large asteroid. Its diameter was estimated to be 60 km. That...more
The force of magnetism causes material to point along the direction the magnetic force points. As shown in the diagram to the left, the force of magnetism is illustrated by lines, which represent the force....more
A spacecraft named Cassini will study the planet Saturn for several years. Cassini blasted off from Earth in October 1997. After flying past Venus, Earth, and Jupiter, Cassini finally arrived at Saturn...more
The MErcury Surface Space ENvironment, GEochemistry Ranging mission (MESSENGER) was chosen as the next mission to Mercury. The Mariner 10 spacecraft last visited Mercury in 1975. Since then, scientists...more