NEAR spacecraft moves closer to asteroid
Posted: Feb. 25, 2000
The maneuver puts NEAR on a gradual descent into a tighter orbit around the asteroid. The probe is on course to enter a 124-mile (200-kilometer) orbit on March 3, controllers said.
Several more orbit adjustments are scheduled during NEAR's one-year mission
NEAR has already returned images and other data about Eros' surface and geology.
Offiicals says two more science instruments aboard NEAR will be turned on this week -- the X-Ray/Gamma Ray Spectrometer and the Laser Rangefinder.
The laser scans will help determine Eros' exact shape, while the spectrometer will measure the asteroid's chemical elements.
Built and managed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, NEAR was the first spacecraft launched in NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, small-scale planetary missions.
First science - Early data from NEAR indicates that 433 Eros is no ordinary space rock.
First orbit image - NEAR's first view of Eros after entering orbit around the asteroid.
Mission Status Center - our comprehensive coverage from orbit insertion.
Encounter Preview - background about NEAR's arrival at asteroid 433 Eros.
Eros' Heart - NEAR captures a heart-shaped object on asteroid Eros.
Road to Eros - montage of images show the asteroid from NEAR during approach over the past three weeks.
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