NEAR Shoemaker captured this amazing picture of adjacent regions in different states of surface degradation on January 7, 2001, from an orbital altitude of 35 kilometers (22 miles). The upper half and lower right parts of the image show surfaces with "typical" rounded craters and large boulders. However, the abruptly edged swath extending from lower left to middle right is remarkably more smooth, subdued, and lacking in small-scale detail of any type -- almost as if Eros had been altered by a giant eraser. The whole scene is about 1.4 kilometers (0.9 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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