This image of asteroid Eros, taken by NASA's NEAR Shoemaker on July 22, 2000, shows the relatively gentle topography of the area really lies on a steep cliff.

NEAR Shoemaker's images of Eros' horizon have provided us with breathtaking views of how different the skyline can be on another world. This picture, taken July 22, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 43 kilometers (27 miles), is a rare treat because it captures important information about Eros while playing with the viewer's senses. Here one of the asteroid's boulder fields decorates the skyline, but the orientation of the camera at the time the image was taken gives the illusion that the relatively gentle topography of the area really lies on a steep cliff. The whole scene is about 1.3 kilometers (0.8 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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