This image of asteroid Eros taken on Oct. 26, 2000, by NASA's NEAR Shoemaker shows a scene covered in rocks of all sizes and shapes, but the floors of some craters are smooth, suggesting accumulation of fine regolith.

This image was taken in the early hours of October 26, 2000, near the closest approach of NEAR Shoemaker's low-altitude flyover of Eros. At that time, the spacecraft's digital camera was looking at a region just 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) away, about 350 meters (1,150 feet) across. Most of the scene is covered in rocks of all sizes and shapes, but the floors of some craters are smooth, suggesting accumulation of fine regolith. For scale, the large boulder just below and to the right of the center of the picture is about 15 meters (50 feet) across. The smallest visible rocks are about 1.4 meters (5 feet) 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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