This image of asteroid Eros, taken by NASA's NEAR Shoemaker on July 12, 2000, shows the irregularity of the tiny little world. Looking down the length of the asteroid, one sees near, middle, and far horizons.

Exploration of small asteroids by spacecraft and ground-based radar has shown that these tiny worlds come in many sizes and shapes. This NEAR Shoemaker image, taken July 12, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 38 kilometers (24 miles), brings home the irregularity of the tiny little world called Eros. Looking down the length of the asteroid, one sees near, middle, and far horizons. The whole scene is about 0.9 kilometers (0.5 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.

View all Images