This image shows where NEAR will attempt to touchdown on the surface of Eros. The yellow circle is the touchdown area.
Click on image for full size
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!
You might also be interested in:
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more
Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more
The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more
Trees and plants are a very important part of this Earth. Trees and plants are nature's air conditioning because they help keep our Earth cool. On a summer day, walking bare-foot on the sidewalk burns,...more
There is something special happening in the night sky. Through mid-May, you will be able to see five planets at the same time! This doesn't happen very often, so you won't want to miss this. Use the links...more