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Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Mission

The most extensive study of any minor body to date was provided by NEAR-Shoemaker, which entered orbit around the asteroid Eros on February 14, 2000. It transmitted thousands of images of the asteroid plus extensive measurements of its shape, composition, and gravity. Although it was not designed as a lander, as its fuel neared an end, flight controllers maneuvered it to a gentle touchdown on the asteroid’s surface on February 12, 2001 — the first landing on any asteroid or comet. The craft’s instruments transmitted data from the surface for several days.



Asteroids February 19, 2016