An Overview of the Saddle
October 27, 2009
NEAR Shoemaker obtained this image of Eros' saddle region on November 15, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 197 kilometers (122 miles). Pointing southwest, NEAR Shoemaker's camera captured an area similar to that featured as the November 13 Image of the Day. That earlier, more oblique view conveys the overall shape of the saddle, whereas this image better illustrates small-scale landforms. The narrow linear feature in the foreground (lower right) is part of a long, complex structure that nearly wraps around the asteroid. The whole interior of the saddle has fewer craters than the rest of the asteroid, indicating the saddle was modified later in Eros' history. However, the region in the upper part of the picture (actually the southwestern part of the saddle) stands out due to its abundance of boulders.