October 26, 2009
Within Eros' "saddle" - the large indentation in the peanut-shaped asteroid - diverse landscapes and brightness contrasts defy preconceived ideas of asteroids as mere cratered space rocks. NEAR Shoemaker took this image of the southwestern wall of the saddle on June 19, 2000, from an altitude of 51 kilometers (32 miles). The saddle wall contains bands of bright regolith, which may be exposed subsurface material yet to experience the "darkening" effects of surface impacts and solar wind. The whole scene is approximately 1.9 kilometers (1.2 miles) across.
Topics: Environment, Regolith, Geomorphology, Sedimentology, Space, Earth, NEAR Shoemaker, 433 Eros, Asteroid