Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

NEAR Shoemaker orbiting a groovy asteroid
Posted: May 20, 2000

Asteroid Eros. Photo: JHU/APL
Images returned by NEAR Shoemaker show that Eros, like a number of other asteroids and asteroid-like moons, has a surface cut by linear troughs called "grooves." Similar features have been identified on asteroids Ida and Gaspra and on Mars' moon Phobos. However, the high-resolution images of Eros allow the origin of its grooves to be investigated in unprecedented detail.

This image showing several grooves was taken May 17, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 52 kilometers (32 miles). The whole scene is about 1.4 kilometers (0.8 miles) across, and shows features as small as 4 meters (13 feet).

Built and managed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, NEAR-Shoemaker was the first spacecraft launched in NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, small-scale planetary missions.

Earlier coverage
Boulders seen on asteroid

Looking into asteroid Eros' saddle wall

NEAR Shoemaker puts Eros into perspective

Light and shadow create strange shapes on Eros

The view of asteroid Eros from low orbit

NEAR Shoemaker settling down for a long mapping