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Where Have All the Craters Gone
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Where Have All the Craters Gone?

October 23, 2009
Early in NEAR Shoemaker's orbit, it became obvious that the inside of Eros' saddle-shaped indentation had been modified by geologic processes late in the asteroid's history. The evidence: In much of the saddle, the dense population of impact craters that covers most of the asteroid has been "wiped clean."

This image of a region inside the saddle was taken May 10, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 49 kilometers (30 miles). The whole scene is about 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) across, and shows features as small as 4 meters (13 feet). Only one sizable crater (marked by the arrow), about 80 meters (262 feet) across, is clearly visible. Smaller craters are scattered throughout the area but are harder to see.


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