Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NEAR Shoemaker Closes In For Unprecedented View Of Asteroid

Date:
October 24, 2000
Source:
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Summary:
On Oct. 26, after more than eight months in orbit, the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft will swoop to within 3 miles of asteroid Eros, taking images and collecting data from a distance closer than any spacecraft has ever come to an asteroid.

On Oct. 26, after more than eight months in orbit around asteroid Eros, the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft will swoop to within three miles (5.3 kilometers) of the asteroid, taking images and collecting data from a distance closer than any spacecraft has ever come to an asteroid.

Related Articles


"Our proximity to Eros will be equivalent to the cruising altitude of a commuter airplane on Earth," says Dr. Robert W. Farquhar, NEAR mission director at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Laurel, Md., which manages the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission for NASA. "When you consider that the asteroid is tumbling end to end in its orbit, getting this close is a little tricky, but we're very well-prepared."

The low-altitude flyover will begin with a maneuver on Oct. 25 that will drop the spacecraft from a circular, 31-mile (50-kilometer) orbit. The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft will be closest to the asteroid at about 3 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) on Oct. 26 as it approaches Eros at approximately three miles (5.3 kilometers) above its surface and traveling at about 14 miles per hour (6 meters per second).

The spacecraft will take images and collect data for more than five hours during its descent. It will remain at its lowest altitude for approximately 30 minutes before the distance increases due to the asteroid's rotation and its irregular shape.

"We expect to get clear images of boulders as small as two feet across and see ridges and craters in exquisite detail," says APL's Dr. Andrew F. Cheng, who serves as the NEAR project scientist. "The laser rangefinder and X-ray spectrometer will also obtain their highest resolution data to date," he says.

Although the closest approach is targeted near one end of Eros in the southern hemisphere, the precise location is uncertain. "But that wouldn't be a problem," Cheng says. "A close look at almost any area of Eros' surface will give us detailed information that we don't have now."

At approximately 1:40 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 26, an engine burn will push the spacecraft away from Eros toward a 125-mile (200-kilometer) orbit, where it will stay for the next month. In December, the spacecraft will begin descending to lower and lower orbits as it completes its science objectives. The mission is scheduled to end in February 2001, one year after NEAR Shoemaker began orbiting the asteroid.

###

Media Contacts:Helen Worth(240) 228-5113, orMichael Buckley(240) 228-7536


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "NEAR Shoemaker Closes In For Unprecedented View Of Asteroid." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001023121021.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. (2000, October 24). NEAR Shoemaker Closes In For Unprecedented View Of Asteroid. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001023121021.htm
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "NEAR Shoemaker Closes In For Unprecedented View Of Asteroid." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001023121021.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) Construction of the world&apos;s largest and most powerful observatory designed to detect and analyze gamma rays has been completed in Mexico. Gamma ray particles are considered the most energetic in the universe and scientists hope to use the observatory to learn more about the supernovas and black holes that produce them. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) A U.S. Air Force GPS IIF-9 satellite launches aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket into semi-synchronous orbit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Opportunity's Marathon: The Mars Rover Just Keeps Going

Opportunity's Marathon: The Mars Rover Just Keeps Going

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) NASA&apos;s Opportunity Mars Rover finished a full marathon, making it the first human creation to do a full 26.2 miles on another planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twin Astronaut to Break NASA Record in Study

Twin Astronaut to Break NASA Record in Study

AP (Mar. 23, 2015) NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will be the first American to spend a year aboard the International Space Station in an experiment to test human endurance in space, while his twin brother&apos;s health is compared on Earth. (March 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins