NEAR is cruising toward 433 Eros for tomorrow’s historic
rendezvous with the asteroid. The NEAR team at the Johns
Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory indicates
all spacecraft systems are operating as planned.

Around 2 a.m. (EST) today, NEAR began a rendezvous
sequence that includes a unique low-phase flyby of Eros.
Scheduled to happen around midnight tonight, the flyby
will put NEAR directly between the sun and Eros and
allow it to map the minerals on the asteroid’s northern
half under optimal lighting.

NEAR team members will download data from this sequence
early tomorrow, about four hours before the spacecraft
moves into position for orbit insertion at 10:33 a.m.
Eastern time.