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. The mission was estimated at $150 million, which is quite cheap in exploration terms.
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
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
On June 27, 1997, the NEAR spacecraft passed within 1200 km of the asteroid Mathilde. NEAR stands for Near Earth Asteroid Rendevous. It is one of NASA's Discovery missions, a series of small-scale spacecraft...more
The force of magnetism causes material to point along the direction the magnetic force points. This property implies that the force of magnetism has a direction. As shown in the diagram to the left, the...more
NASA chose Deep Impact to be part of a special series called the Discovery Program on July 7, 1999. In May 2001, Deep Impact was given the "go" from NASA to start with mission development. Deep Impact...more
The Cassini probe began its journey to Saturn on October 15, 1997. It flew by Earth in August, 1999, before heading towards the distant planet. Cassini passed Jupiter in 2000 and then burned towards its...more
The MErcury Surface Space ENvironment, GEochemistry Ranging mission ...more