A fascinating finding from NEAR Shoemaker images is that even on a tiny world like Eros, geology can change just over the next hill. Such an abrupt change may not be surprising to someone driving from the Rocky Mountains to the western Plains, but it's a big surprise on an asteroid only 33 kilometers (21 miles) long. This NEAR Shoemaker picture, taken August 10, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 51 kilometers (32 miles), captured the view over an ancient, crater-battered hill into a valley where craters have been obliterated by resurfacing. The whole scene is only 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) 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.