The NEAR spacecraft went into a “safe” hold this morning
while preparing for today’s scheduled rendezvous burn.
The NEAR team will attempt the maneuver tomorrow and the
mission remains on schedule for the Valentine’s Day
encounter with asteroid Eros.

The rendezvous burn is a braking maneuver designed to
slow NEAR’s speed relative to Eros (from 45 mph to 21
mph) and refine its trajectory toward the asteroid. The
spacecraft’s onboard computer initiated the safe mode at
5 a.m. EST during a routine procedure that precedes a
change in NEAR’s velocity. Mission operators stayed in
constant touch with NEAR and the spacecraft appears
healthy, though the NEAR team is looking into potential
causes of the problem.