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Distant image of Eros taken January 12 2000
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Distant image of Eros taken January 12, 2000

October 22, 2009
This distant image of the asteroid Eros was taken on January 12, 2000 from the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft. The image was taken at a range of 27,200 miles (45,350 km) while the spacecraft approached the asteroid at a velocity of 43 miles per hour (19 meters per second). At that time NEAR was 170 million miles (274 million kilometers) from Earth. Eros is a very elongated object about 21 by 8 by 8 miles (33 by 13 by 13 kilometers) in size. In this view the asteroid is illuminated by the Sun from the right. During the next month NEAR will continue to approach Eros at a low velocity, and the asteroid will appear progressively larger in images returned from the spacecraft. On February 14 NEAR will fire its thrusters and begin to orbit Eros, becoming the first artificial satellite of any asteroid.


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