A Very Interesting Place
October 26, 2009
NEAR Shoemaker's pictures of Eros show many places that defy long-held stereotypes of asteroids as crater-battered balls of rock. The southern part of Eros' saddle, shown here in a picture taken June 14, 2000, has several characteristics suggesting the importance of processes other than cratering. The dense population of large craters observed on other parts of the asteroid has been obliterated or covered over. The elliptical depression at the upper right probably formed by regolith movement due to mechanisms other than impacts, and the brighter patches scattered throughout the scene suggest exposure of subsurface materials. The image was taken from an orbital altitude of 51 kilometers (32 miles) and shows a region approximately 1.9 kilometers (1.2 miles) across.
Topics: Environment, Regolith, Geomorphology, Geology, Shoemaker, Sedimentology, NEAR Shoemaker, 433 Eros, Asteroid, Planetary science