A picture by artist Pat Rawling of the NEAR spacecraft in front of Eros.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
News story originally written on February 11, 1998
The NEAR spacecraft is on the final leg of its journey. Where has this spacecraft been and where is it going? First of all, NEAR stands for Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous. So its main focus is -- asteroids!
The spacecraft flew by asteroid Mathilde
in June 1997, past Earth in January 1998 and is now on its way to asteroid Eros, the final mission target!
NEAR will arrive at Eros in December 1998. It will go into orbit around Eros. During this time, scientists will map the surface of the asteroid and figure out what Eros is made of.
On February 6, 2000, the mission will come to a climax! The NEAR spacecraft will land on Eros (hopefully in a controlled fashion!).
This is an exciting mission - stay tuned!
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