Eros looms continually larger

On February 9,
the Multispectral Imager on NEAR acquired these four images
of the asteroid 433 Eros as the spacecraft closed to within
2500 miles (4100 km) of its target. The pictures were taken
at approximately equal time intervals over the course of
one 5.27-hour rotation of the asteroid. Thus the upper left
image shows nearly the same view of the asteroid as the
lower right image. In just this time, NEAR shaved another
120 miles (200 kilometers) off the remainder of its
journey, so that the last view of the asteroid is
measurably larger than the first.

Over the last
few days new details of Eros’s surface have become
resolved. Craters as small as a couple of kilometers across
are now becoming visible. By the time of orbit insertion on
February 14, features as small as 330 feet (100 meters) in
size will be distinguishable.

(Images 0125513653, 0125501173, 0125507413, and 0125494933)