Eros looms continually larger
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Eros looms continually larger

October 22, 2009
On February 9, the Multispectral Imager on NEAR acquired these four images of the asteroid 433 Eros as the spacecraft closed to within 2500 miles (4100 km) of its target. The pictures were taken at approximately equal time intervals over the course of one 5.27-hour rotation of the asteroid. Thus the upper left image shows nearly the same view of the asteroid as the lower right image. In just this time, NEAR shaved another 120 miles (200 kilometers) off the remainder of its journey, so that the last view of the asteroid is measurably larger than the first.

Over the last few days new details of Eros's surface have become resolved. Craters as small as a couple of kilometers across are now becoming visible. By the time of orbit insertion on February 14, features as small as 330 feet (100 meters) in size will be distinguishable.

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