The NEAR Laser Rangefinder NLR records the first ever laser
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The NEAR Laser Rangefinder (NLR) records the first ever laser range returns from an asteroid.

October 23, 2009
These observations were obtained during the first turn-on of the instrument while the NEAR spacecraft orbited Eros on February 28-29, 2000. The returns from this calibration pass were obtained from a short segment of the surface, close to the edge of the giant gouge shown in the Image of the Day 2000 February 17C. The range was about 290 kilometers to the surface of Eros, over 5 times the designed ranging distance. Data from the NLR obtained during the NEAR mapping mission will be used to make a precise topographic model of Eros and to study the asteroid's shape, internal structure and dynamics.

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