This pair of images of asteroid Eros, taken by NASA's NEAR Shoemaker show the crater nearly edge-on taken Feb. 16, 2000 at left, and at right, taken on March 2, 2000, high over a crater.

Lighting and viewing geometries make a huge difference in the appearance of Eros' surface features. One of the most striking examples is the 2.7-kilometer (1.68-mile) diameter crater shown in these two images. The image at left, looking at the crater nearly edge-on, was taken February 16, 2000, from a range of 341 kilometers (212 miles). The image at right was taken high over the crater on March 2, 2000, from a range of 226 kilometers (140 miles). In the first image the only visible part of the crater's interior is the far, bright wall, which at the time was well-lit. The lighting, in combination with the particular viewing angle, make the crater appear stunningly bright. In the second view, the brighter material occupies only part of the slightly-shaded interior, greatly reducing the overall brightness contrast between the crater and the surrounding terrain.

Built and managed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, NEAR was the first spacecraft launched in NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, small-scale planetary missions. See the NEAR web page at for more details.

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