NEAR Eros Animations


[NEAR animation of asteroid Eros flyover] NEAR Shoemaker captured this movie of 433 Eros on Oct. 26, 2000, as it swooped from within 8 to 5 miles (13 to 8 kilometers) of the asteroid's surface. Rocks of all shapes and sizes cover the landscape. The smooth floors of some craters indicate accumulation of fine regolith, the loose rocks and dust left over from collisions with other objects. The smallest visible rocks are about 1.4 meters (5 feet) across. The numbers at lower right mark the latitude and longitude directly below the spacecraft.

NEAR Shoemaker's low-altitude flyover on Oct. 25-26 brought it about 3 miles (5.3 kilometers) from Eros' surface, the closest any spacecraft has ever come to planetary body without landing on it. Visit the flyover gallery for images, video and news from the maneuver.

Larger animated GIF (6.6 Mb)


[NEAR animation of asteroid Eros] NEAR Shoemaker captured this rotation movie Sept. 19, 2000, from an orbit 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Eros. The camera moves over a heavily cratered end before panning across Eros' large saddle depression. After a break in taking pictures, the frame shifts to the "terminator" between daylight and darkness. The final sequence offers a panoramic look at the opposite side of Eros before ending over the shadowed edge of the asteroid's largest crater.

Larger animated GIF (4.5 Mb)


[NEAR animation of asteroid Eros] On April 26, 2000, during the first days of low altitude orbits around Eros, NEAR Shoemaker's camera took this flyover movie from an orbital altitude of only 51 kilometers (32 miles). The field of view starts near the end of the asteroid and then pans across the surface near the terminator, the line dividing the asteroid's day and night sides, where the oblique lighting brings out crisp details of surface landforms. The camera then scans along the horizon, revealing a spectacular, bouldery skyline. The movie ends with a view of the interior of the large, 5.3-kilometer (3.3-mile) diameter crater nicknamed "the paw." Two of the small craters forming the paw's "toes" are in the foreground, and the main crater with its bright, streaked walls sits in the background. (Images 0132140527-0132142822)

Larger GIF and Quicktime versions of the animation at APL


[NEAR animation of asteroid Eros] Two days after NEAR Shoemaker began its orbit of Eros, the spacecraft captured this rotation movie as it moved closer to the asteroid. Although a number of movies have appeared on the NEAR Web site showing all manners of fascinating surface features, this was the last taken at a great enough distance to capture the full illuminated part of the asteroid in each frame. The movie shows a full rotation on February 16, 2000, as viewed from a range of about 340 kilometers (211 miles). It nicely captures the relationship of the two major landforms, the saddle and the 5.3-kilometer (3.3-mile) diameter crater, to the rest of Eros. (Product of selected images from 0126105943 to 0126124299)

Larger animated gif (190 k)

Quicktime versions of the animation at APL


[NEAR animation of asteroid Eros] Eros March Movie Marathon, Part 1

On March 15, 2000, the imager on the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft acquired a series of four movies showing different parts of Eros from an altitude of 204 kilometers (127 miles). Each part of the asteroid was captured under changing lighting conditions to bring out details in surface morphology. This first movie shows the west end (180 degrees longitude) of the asteroid, which is pockmarked by a dense population of craters and sculpted by short, linear grooves. Large boulders, about 50 meters (165 feet) across, also litter the scene. The Universal Time (UT) of acquisition of each image and the corresponding sub-spacecraft latitude and longitude on Eros are indicated at the bottom of the frame. (Images 0128500626-0128510736)

Quicktime versions of the animation at APL


[NEAR animation of asteroid Eros] Second Eros Flyover Movie

On March 7, 2000, the imager on the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft acquired this second of several planned "flyover movies" of Eros. This flyover shows the zero-degree longitude end of the asteroid and its western hemisphere from a range of 205 kilometers (127 miles). The northern hemisphere is toward the bottom of the frame and the southern hemisphere is toward the top. The changing lighting conditions during the movie allow the viewer to clearly distinguish the brightness variations due to topography and reflectivity of the surface. Notice, for example, how the bright patch in the crater on the asteroid's end passes out of view halfway through the movie. Notice also the bright streaks on the interior wall of the large, 5.5-kilometer (3.4-mile) crater, which comes into view at the same time. Both features retain their contrast with the surroundings even as the lighting changes and each crater begins to be shadowed, showing that the features are in fact surface markings. (Product of images 0127875126 through 0127878508)

MPEG and Quicktime versions of the animation at APL


[NEAR animation of asteroid Eros] First Eros Flyover Movie

On March 7, 2000, the imager on the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft acquired the first of several planned "flyover movies" of Eros. This one shows the "saddle" region from a range of 205 kilometers (127 miles). A flyover's purpose is to show a region of the asteroid during continually changing lighting conditions, with solar illumination coming from a variety of directions and elevations above the surface. With the Sun in different positions, features with different orientations become more evident. Also, with the Sun low to the surface, brightness variations are dominated by the shadows cast by landforms. In contrast, with the Sun high in the sky, brightness differences are dominated by the intrinsic differences in reflectivity of the surface materials. The combination of illuminations maximizes the ability to characterize landforms and to separate the effects of topography from differences in reflectivity. (Product of images 0127808826 through 0127814488)

MPEG and Quicktime versions of the animation at APL


[NEAR encounter animation of asteroid Eros]

On February 12, 2000 during the final stage of approach to Eros, NEAR acquired a 780 frame rotation sequence using its MSI camera. Images were taken every 26 seconds to capture slightly over one rotation. These data not only serve as critical optical navigation aids, but give scientists a dynamic look at changing shadowing and shading of surface features. By examining features with different illumination conditions analysts can easier interpret their origin. This is a small sampled version (one frame every 13 minutes) of the full movie. (Images 0125726525-0125746779)

MPEG and Quicktime versions of the animation at APL


Captions and images courtesy of the NEAR Project (JHU/APL).
* NEAR Eros images from orbit
* NEAR Eros approach images and animations
* NEAR Eros Science Returns

* More information on asteroid 433 Eros
* Asteroid Fact Sheet
* NSSDC 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

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


Author/Curator:
Dr. David R. Williams, dave.williams@nasa.gov
NSSDC, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
+1-301-286-1258
NSSDC Logo
NASA Official: J.H. King, king@nssdca.gsfc.nasa.gov
Last Updated: 18 December 2001, DRW