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!
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