Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Mission

The most extensive study of any minor body to date was provided by NEAR-Shoemaker, which entered orbit around the asteroid Eros on February 14, 2000. It transmitted thousands of images of the asteroid plus extensive measurements of its shape, composition, and gravity. Although it was not designed as a lander, as its fuel neared an end, flight controllers maneuvered it to a gentle touchdown on the asteroid's surface on February 12, 2001 -- the first landing on any asteroid or comet. The craft's instruments transmitted data from the surface for several days.

Resources

Asteroids At the dawn of the 19th century, a group of...

Radio Programs

NEAR Encounter A close encounter with an asteroid Saturday, February 12, 2011
NEAR An "erotic" rendezvous in space Sunday, February 14, 2010

Featured Images

Rocky Targets Tuesday, September 5, 2006

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