NEAR Orbit Around Asteroid 433 Eros


Images of Eros


[NEAR images of asteroid Eros] The Subtle Colors of Eros

NEAR Shoemaker took these images of Eros on October 16, 2000, while orbiting 54 kilometers (34 miles) above the asteroid. They are shown in false color, constructed from images taken in green light and two different wavelengths of infrared light. Surface materials that have been darkened and reddened by the solar wind and micrometeorite impacts appear as pale brown, whereas fresher materials exposed from the subsurface on steep slopes appear in bright whites or blues. Compared with Gaspra and Ida, similar asteroids imaged in color from the Galileo spacecraft, Eros exhibits large brightness variations but only subtle color variations.

The top panorama shows the rounded rim of the saddle-shaped feature Himeros. The fresh, bright materials appear in localized patches set on a background of older fragmental debris, or regolith. In most regions of Eros, such as in the panorama and the view at lower left, the bright patches are strongly concentrated on the inner walls craters. However, on the inner wall of Himeros (lower right), steep slopes are extensive and the bright material appears as pervasive, scattered patches. (Images 0147090361-0147090659 (top), 0147067621-0147067625 (lower left), 0147089675-0147089679 (lower right).)


[NEAR images of asteroid Eros] Closing in on Eros

These four images are among thousands NEAR Shoemaker acquired during several low-altitude passes over Eros from January 25-28, 2001. From upper left to lower right, the images show Eros' bouldery surface at increasing resolution. The image at upper left was taken January 27 of a point 13.5 kilometers (8.4 miles) away; the one at the upper right was taken January 26 from 11.1 kilometers (6.9 miles) away. Each top scene is about 550 meters (1,815 feet) across. The image at bottom left was taken January 26 from 4.9 kilometers (3 miles) away, and the bottom right image was taken January 28 from a similar distance. Each lower scene is about 230 meters (760 feet) across. (Images 0155981852, 0155883236, 0155888661, 0156087736)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Lowest Altitude Diversity

NEAR Shoemaker took this picture at 8:45 p.m. EST on January 25, 2001, during one of the spacecraft's low-altitude passes over the surface of Eros. The distance to the center of the picture is only 9 kilometers (5.6 miles), so the entire scene is a mere 340 meters (1,120 feet) across. At this scale, we can distinguish features less than 2 meters across. The asteroid's surface appears nearly devoid of obvious craters and is instead dominated by small boulders. In the upper left part of the image, a smooth deposit with a lower density of boulders is in contrast to the very rough-textured material seen at the lower right. (Image 0155883756)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] A Southern Hemisphere Overview

This mosaic of NEAR Shoemaker images, taken on December 3, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 200 kilometers (124 miles), provides an overview of the eastern part of the asteroid's southern hemisphere. In this view, south is to the top and the terminator (the imaginary line dividing day from night) lies near the equator. The conspicuous depression just above the center of the frame is the saddle-shaped feature Himeros.

Full Resolution Mosaic (93 K)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] The Saddle in 3-D

Several frames from a rotation movie NEAR Shoemaker took on September 19, 2000, from an orbit 100 kilometers (62 miles) above Eros, were combined to create these 3-D views of the saddle region. 3-D images made using the red and blue color technique are called anaglyphs and must be viewed through red-blue 3-D glasses.

Because of the combined rotation of Eros and spacecraft motion, the images were rotated to create the 3-D views. The images all show the same area but use two movie frames separated by increasing amounts to give greater 3-D depth (from not enough to too much). The first image in the upper left has no depth; the image at upper right is made from adjacent movie frames, while the remaining images are separated by 2, 5, 10 and 15 movie frames.


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Bright Crater Wall

NEAR Shoemaker captured this image on January 11, 2001, while orbiting 38 kilometers (24 miles) above Eros. Material on the inner wall of the crater in the center of the image is brighter than the surrounding regolith and is thought to be subsurface material exposed when overlying, darker regolith slides off. The whole scene is about 1.2 kilometers (0.7 miles) across. (Image 0154622520)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] On Eros' Slopes

NEAR Shoemaker took this picture of the interior wall of a large crater on January 9, 2001, from an orbital altitude of 35 kilometers (22 miles). Like many steep slopes on Eros, this area is mottled with downward-oriented brightness streaks. The streaks are thought to be exposed subsurface material that hasn't been altered by the solar wind and micrometeorite impacts. The whole scene is about 0.8 kilometers (0.5 miles) across. (Image 0154409710)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] An Eraser Mark on Eros

NEAR Shoemaker captured this amazing picture of adjacent regions in different states of surface degradation on January 7, 2001, from an orbital altitude of 35 kilometers (22 miles). The upper half and lower right parts of the image show surfaces with "typical" rounded craters and large boulders. However, the abruptly edged swath extending from lower left to middle right is remarkably more smooth, subdued, and lacking in small-scale detail of any type -- almost as if Eros had been altered by a giant eraser. The whole scene is about 1.4 kilometers (0.9 miles) across. (Image 0154251925)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Eros with All its Warts

NEAR Shoemaker took this picture of a rather typical-looking region of Eros on December 26, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 37 kilometers (23 miles). The picture captures the essence of a change in the appearance of the asteroid's surface at small scales. At scales of more than a few tens of meters, or about 100 feet, the most abundant type of landform is craters. At smaller sizes the surface is dominated by boulders, giving it a "warty" appearance. For reference, the large boulder on the floor of the crater in the middle of the picture is about 20 meters (70 feet) across, and the whole scene is about 0.8 kilometers (0.5 miles) across. (Image 0153208540)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Craters and Boulders

The NEAR Shoemaker imager captured this crater-view on December 16 from an orbital altitude of 37 kilometers (23 miles). This view of the horizon shows small craters within a larger one and subdued small-scale topography features reminiscent of the images taken during the October 26 low altitude flyover. (Image 0152339984)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Rim of the Saddle

NEAR Shoemaker took this picture of the rim of Eros' "saddle" on November 22, 2000, from a 196-kilometer (122-mile) altitude, with its camera pointed northeast. The southeastern edge of the saddle is shown at the top of the frame. Preexisting landforms on the saddle's rim have been obliterated by resurfacing, as indicated by the low density of superimposed craters. The older, exposed terrain, shown at the bottom of the frame, has a sculpted appearance. (Image 0150306420)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] A Look at Psyche

This view of the largest crater on Eros -- a mosaic of NEAR Shoemaker images taken Sept. 10, 2000, from an altitude of 62 miles (100 kilometers) - offers a new perspective on the feature known as Psyche. The images were taken as the spacecraft flew directly over the 3.3-mile (5.3 kilometer) wide crater and its smaller sister craters, which align its rim and create a paw-like appearance.

Providing additional clues to the history of Eros, the image shows several troughs and scarps that appear to cut through the crater. These structural features occurred after the crater was formed, perhaps resulting from a large impact elsewhere on the asteroid.

The low light coming from the right of the photo highlights the crater's raised rim. Bright patterns on the crater wall likely come from dark material moving downslope and revealing fresher material underneath. A large boulder perched on the crater wall illustrates Eros' unusual gravity; because of its elongated shape the gravity "lows" on Eros are not necessarily in the lowest parts of craters. In this section, the boulder seems to rest on the wall, instead of rolling down to the floor.

Full Resolution Mosaic (340 K)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Eros Closest Approach Mosaic

This image mosaic was taken in the early hours of October 26, 2000, as NEAR Shoemaker made its low-altitude flyover of Eros. At the time of closest approach, the camera was looking at a region just 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) away. Much of the surface is covered in rocks of all sizes and shapes, set on a gently rounded surface. Other regions are smooth, suggesting accumulation of fine regolith. The smallest rocks seen are about 1.4 meters (5 feet) across. (Images 0147952578-0147953053)

Full Resolution Mosaic (480 K)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Eros at Close Approach

This image was taken in the early hours of October 26, 2000, near the closest approach of NEAR Shoemaker's low-altitude flyover of Eros. At that time, the spacecraft's digital camera was looking at a region just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) away, about 300 meters (1,000 feet) across. Most of the scene is covered in rocks of all sizes and shapes, but the floors of some craters are smooth, suggesting accumulation of fine regolith. For scale, the large boulder just below and to the right of the center of the picture is about 15 meters (50 feet) across. The smallest visible rocks are about 1.2 meters (4 feet) across. (Image 0147953228)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Beginning of the Closest Approach to Eros

This view of Eros is part of an image mosaic taken in the early hours of October 26, 2000, during NEAR Shoemaker's low-altitude flyover of Eros. Taken while the spacecraft's digital camera was looking at a spot 8 kilometers (5 miles) away, the image covers a region about 800 meters (2600 feet) across. Rocks of all sizes and shapes are set on a gently rolling, cratered surface. Locally, fine debris or regolith buries the rocks. The large boulder at the center of the scene is about 25 meters (82 feet) across.


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Eros Up REALLY Close

This image was taken in the early hours of October 26, 2000, during NEAR Shoemaker's low-altitude flyover of Eros. Taken while the spacecraft's digital camera was looking at a spot 8 kilometers (5 miles) away, the picture covers a region about 300 meters (1,000 feet) across. Many rocks of all sizes and shapes litter the scene. Locally, fine debris or regolith buries the rocks. The large boulder at the center right of the image is about 25 meters (82 feet) across. (Image 0147952603)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] And This Just In, From Eros

The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft continues its regional mapping of Eros' southern hemisphere from a 100-kilometer (62-mile) altitude. The illuminated part of the asteroid is being blanketed with image mosaics, some taken in color to measure compositional properties of the regolith, others taken from stereo viewing geometries to measure variations in topography. This mosaic, taken October 2, 2000, includes just four of the thousands of image frames being taken during this mapping phase. (Mosaic of images 0145906610, 0145906672, 0145906734, 0145906548)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] The South Saddle

NEAR Shoemaker's current 100-kilometer (62-mile) orbit gives it a bird's eye view of the asteroid. From this distance, only a handful of pictures are needed to create an image mosaic of a large area.

This mosaic of four frames, photographed on September 26, 2000, was taken as the spacecraft looked down on the "saddle" region from the south. The broad, curved depression that stretches vertically across the image is an area of the asteroid that was in shadow during the earlier 100-kilometer orbit, in April 2000. The area that appears speckled at the lower right is the same boulder-rich area featured as the April 4, 2000, Image-of-the-Day. The boulders are easily visible in the full-sized version of today's image. (Mosaic of images 0145364037, 0145363975, 0145363913, 0145363851)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Trailing Away

This mosaic of two NEAR Shoemaker images, taken August 20, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 49 kilometers (31 miles), shows an oblique view of Eros' surface as it trails away to the horizon. The stark shadows inside the craters at left result from the low, almost grazing angle of sunlight to the asteroid's surface. The very dense population of impact craters indicates this part of Eros has undergone few other types of surface modification. (Mosaic of images 0142203174 and 0142203236)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] Local Sunset

This view is a mosaic of three images of Eros taken by NEAR Shoemaker on August 19, 2000, when the spacecraft was orbiting at about 50 kilometers (31 miles) above the asteroid. This mosaic captures a spectacular view of the surface at the time of local sunset. The rounded shape of the low hills at left results from eons of impact cratering chipping away at them and the formation of regolith blanketing them. The whole scene is approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) across. (Mosaic of images 0142115561, 0142115623, 0142115685)


[NEAR image of asteroid Eros] An Ancient Ridge

This mosaic of four images -- taken by NEAR Shoemaker on September 21, 2000, from about 100 kilometers (62 miles) above Eros -- covers part of the asteroid's southern hemisphere, southwest of the large, 5.3-kilometer (3.3-mile) diameter crater. The ridge that trends from upper left to lower right is among the older features on Eros, as evidenced by the large number of superimposed impact craters. The whole scene is approximately 11 kilometers (7 miles) from top to bottom. (Mosaic of images 0143505203, 0143505389, 0143505327 and 0143505265)



Captions and images courtesy of the NEAR Project (JHU/APL).
* NEAR Eros descent images
* More NEAR Eros orbit images
* Other NEAR Eros orbit images
* NEAR Eros early orbit images
* NEAR Eros animations (large files)
* NEAR Eros approach images and animations
* NEAR Eros Science Returns

* More information on asteroid 433 Eros
* Asteroid Fact Sheet
* NSSDCA Asteroid Home Page

* Information on the Multispectral Imager
* Information on the NEAR Mission Profile and Trajectory

* Images from the Eros and Mathilde Flybys
* NEAR Eros Images - Applied Physics Lab, JHU

* NSSDCA NEAR Home Page
* Detailed information on NEAR from the NSSDCA Master Catalog
* NSSDCA Planetary Home Page


Author/Curator:
Dr. David R. Williams, dave.williams@nasa.gov
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
+1-301-286-1258

NASA Official: Dr. Ed Grayzeck, edwin.j.grayzeck@nasa.gov
Last Updated: 18 December 2001, DRW