the @stro pages
astronomy? glossary website help


the @stro pages index index
astrophotos astrophotos
articles articles
@stro objects @stro objects
discussion boards discussion boards
telescope making telescope making
observer's log observer's log
in san diego in san diego
@stro calendar @stro calendar
astrolinks astrolinks
contact us contact us

Helpful Links
Company Registration Company Registration




(c) 1997-2004 the @stro pages

@stro objects

NEAR Mission and 433 Eros

The @stro object for the week of 02/14/2000

433 Eros Near-Earth Asteroid

image courtesy of JHUAPL

NEAR Mission and 433 Eros. On February 14th, 2000 Johns Hopkins University scientists confirmed that the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spaceprobe went into orbit around the asteroid 433 Eros, a near-Earth asteroid that is currently about 160 million miles from Earth. NEAR becomes the first human-made satellite to enter into orbit around an asteroid. The mission should deliver much in the way of scientific data in the form of digital images, various instrument readings and will collect information on Eros' mass, structure, geology, composition, gravity and magnetic field. Potato-shaped Eros is about 21 miles (33 kilometers) long, 8 miles (13 kilometers) wide and 8 miles thick. NEAR was launched on February 17, 1996 and was supposed to reach Eros two years and 327 days after launch. However, a failed orbit insertion attempt on Dec. 20, 1998 forced mission designers to add another year and 23 days to the trip. NEAR's operating distance from the surface of Eros will vary from 300 to 22 miles while in orbit.

NEAR carries five main scientific instruments:

  • A Magnetometer will determine whether Eros has a magnetic field, which would indicate the presence of the same metallic iron found in some meteorites.
  • The X-ray/Gamma-Ray Spectrometer will measure key chemical elements like silicon, magnesium, iron, uranium, thorium and potassium.
  • The Near-Infrared Spectrometer will map the mineral composition of the surface by measuring the spectrum of sunlight reflected by Eros.
  • The Multispectral Imager - NEAR's electronic camera - will map the asteroid's shape, landforms and colors.
  • The Laser Rangefinder will scan the precise shape of the asteroid (within a meter or two).

more info on the NEAR Mission

previous @stro object @stro object index next @stro object
***Copyright information, Privacy and Terms of Use statement can be read here.***