This image of asteroid Eros, taken by NASA's NEAR Shoemaker on Dec. 9, 2000, shows curvatures in the foreground and background along the eastern and western edges of the saddle.

NEAR Shoemaker took this picture looking across the saddle region of Eros on December 9, 2000, from an 80-kilometer (49-mile) altitude. The curvatures shown in the foreground and background are the eastern and western edges of the saddle, respectively. The high, bouldery area between is the broad ridge that separates the main eastern and western parts of the composite depression. The picture covers a region about 2.2 kilometers (1.4 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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