The South Saddle
October 27, 2009
NEAR Shoemaker's current 100-kilometer (62-mile) orbit gives it a bird's eye view of the asteroid. From this distance, only a handful of pictures are needed to create an image mosaic of a large area. This mosaic of four frames, photographed on September 26, 2000, was taken as the spacecraft looked down on the "saddle" region from the south. The broad, curved depression that stretches vertically across the image is an area of the asteroid that was in shadow during the earlier 100-kilometer orbit, in April 2000. The area that appears speckled at the lower right is the same boulder-rich area featured as the April 4, 2000, Image-of-the-Day. The boulders are easily visible in the full-sized version of today's image.