Down, Down, Down
October 23, 2009
As the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft continues its descent to lower orbits around Eros, smaller and smaller surface details are becoming visible. This image was taken April 29, 2000, from an orbital height of 84 kilometers (52 miles), just before the engine firing that placed NEAR in a 50-kilometer (31-mile) altitude orbit. The image shows features as small as 7 meters (23 feet) across and boulders a mere tens of meters in size. The whole scene is 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) across.
Topics: Environment, Disaster Accident, NEAR Shoemaker, 433 Eros, 2012, Orbital spaceflight, Geocentric orbit, Planetary defense