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NEAR to Touchdown on Surface of Asteroid! - Windows to the Universe

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This image shows where NEAR will attempt to touchdown on the surface of Eros. The yellow circle is the touchdown area.
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Courtesy of NASA/JHUAPL (John Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory

NEAR to Touchdown on Surface of Asteroid!
News story originally written on February 2, 2001

The NEAR spacecraft has been in orbit around the asteroid Eros since Valentine's Day of last year. That was the first time a spacecraft ever orbited an asteroid! Now NEAR will attempt another first -- on February 12, 2001, NEAR will try to land on Eros!

Is this a risk? Sure is! NEAR will be over 196 million miles from Earth when touchdown occurs. Scientists are hoping that NEAR won't be smashed to pieces when it hits the asteroid! Before landing, NEAR will take lots of pictures of the surface of Eros. That's an added bonus to the data NEAR has already collected. So whatever happens, the NEAR mission will have been a big success! Stay tuned for more news on this exciting mission!

Last modified February 2, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF