This image of asteroid Eros, taken by NASA's NEAR Shoemaker on June 16, 2000, shows a crater with a bright patch on one of its walls, and a low, curved escarpment that snakes along the bottom of the image.

Even the earliest, low-resolution images of Eros from NEAR Shoemaker show a variety of bright patches and bands on crater walls and other steep slopes. This picture, taken June 16, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 50 kilometers (31 miles), captures bright patches in two different environments. The crater in the top center of the picture has a bright patch on one of its walls, whereas the low, curved escarpment that snakes along the bottom of the image has bright material exposed along its length. The bright patches are a source of speculation, but they may have originated from exposure of subsurface material. The whole scene is approximately 1.9 kilometers (1.2 miles) across.

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 http://near.jhuapl.edu/ for more details.

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