U. S. Will Attempt First Landing On Asteroid Eros

This color image of Eros was acquired by NEAR's multi-spectral imager on February 12, 2000 at a range of 1100 miles (1800 kilometers). The color is close to what the unaided human eye would see. The butterscotch hue is typical of a wide variety of minerals thought to be major components of asteroids such as Eros. Photograph courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland
This color image of Eros was acquired by NEAR's multi-spectral imager on February 12, 2000 at a range of 1100 miles (1800 kilometers). The color is close to what the unaided human eye would see. The butterscotch hue is typical of a wide variety of minerals thought to be major components of asteroids such as Eros. Photograph courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland

January 6, 2001  Laurel, Maryland - NASA said OK this week to America's and the world's first attempt to land on an asteroid - or at least touch down briefly. Scientists on the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) team at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland have been controlling NASA's NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Eros since February 14, 2000. Now, nearly one year to the day on February 12, 2001, NEAR's rocket engines will be turned on to slow the orbiter's descent toward Eros at about 7 miles per hour.

 

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