NEAR approaches Eros

4-panel Eros rotation image sequence

On February 12, two days before NEAR’s insertion into orbit
around Eros, during a five-hour time span the spacecraft’s
Multispectral Imager recorded these pictures of the
asteroid spinning on its axis. This view, looking down
toward the rocky body’s north pole, is generally similar to
sequences taken on February 6, 10, and 11. But the
spacecraft was much closer to Eros (about 1,800 kilometers
or a little over 1,100 miles), so the pictures are much

Features as small as a 590 feet (180 meters) wide can be
seen. The most prominent, sharp-rimmed impact crater is on
the opposite side of Eros from a huge, hollowed-out gouge,
which may also have been caused by an impact. Between these
features, and towards the ends of the “fat banana” shape of
Eros, the asteroid’s surface is covered with smaller

(Images 0125726525, 0125728085, 0125745245, 0125732765)

Image archive