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NEAR Shoemakers Touchdown Site
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NEAR Shoemaker's Touchdown Site

October 28, 2009
When NEAR Shoemaker makes its controlled descent to the surface of Eros on February 12, 2001, it will do so at the boundary of two distinctly different geologic provinces of the asteroid. The main image shows the touchdown site (yellow circle) on the edge of the saddle-shaped feature Himeros. The inset is a mosaic of eight images showing the site in the context of the eastern part of the southern hemisphere. In both views, south is to the top, and the terminator (the imaginary line dividing day from night) falls near the equator. To the south lies heavily cratered terrain at southern mid-latitudes. To the north (bottom) is the interior of Himeros, whose lower density of superposed craters indicates relatively recent geologic activity.

During the descent, NEAR Shoemaker will take a strip of more than 70 images crossing both provinces, some showing details of the surface smaller than 10 centimeters (4 inches) across.


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