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Asteroids are an important topic of study because they hold information about the early evolution of the solar system in their composition and physiography. One of the challenges of asteroid science is determining whether an asteroid is a piece of what was once a larger body, is an accumulation of smaller bodies, or has stayed relatively the same size throughout its existence. The September 22, 2000 issue of Science reported findings from NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission, revealing that the Eros 433 asteroid is an undifferentiated body dating back to the solar system's beginnings. The NEAR Mission's Shoemaker spacecraft, whose work began February 14, has taken more than 103,300 images and extensive measurements of Eros's composition, structure, and landforms, at distances ranging from 35 to 350 kilometers. This week's In the News presents Websites about the NEAR Mission, its latest research results, and asteroids and meteorites in general.
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