[meteorite-list] Nose-To-Nose With An Asteroid
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:42:06 2004
Nose-to-Nose with an Asteroid
January 28, 2001
The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft made history once again
today when it brushed over the "toe" end of Eros, less
than two miles (2.74 kilometers) from its surface, at
5:41 a.m. EST (ground receive time). The daring pass-the
closest any spacecraft has come to an asteroid-marked
the conclusion of a 4-day series of low-altitude
flyovers that is returning extraordinarily detailed
images of the asteroid's surface.
The low pass sequence ended this afternoon at 1:22 p.m.
EST (ground receive time), when a 3.8-second burst from
the spacecraft's 5-pound thrusters pulled it away from
its breathtaking vantage point, and back toward an orbit
22 miles (35 kilometers) above the asteroid. There it
will remain circling Eros until a maneuver on Feb. 12
pulls the spacecraft out of orbit and into position for
its descent to the asteroid. Several more engine burns
will slow NEAR Shoemaker's descent, allowing it to
settle on to the asteroid's surface at about 3 p.m. EST.
Received on Mon 29 Jan 2001 12:42:05 PM PST