BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sci/Tech
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Monday, 1 May, 2000, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Near closes in on Eros
Surface Nasa
Surface features have fascinated scientists
The American spacecraft Near has moved into its closest orbit yet around the asteroid Eros, circling only 50 kilometres above the object's surface.

Scientists at the American space agency Nasa hope now to detect the various minerals that make up Eros.

The probe's laser rangefinder will also continue to scan the precise shape of the asteroid.

Getting the Near spacecraft so close to Eros has taken more than four years and has been a remarkable technological achievement.

The Near spacecraft has been beaming back pictures from the space rock for almost three months. The images show craters the size of cities and boulders as tall as tower blocks.

The potato-shaped lump of rock is around 30 kilometres long and scientists believe it may once have been part of a larger body, like a planet, which blew apart billions of years ago.

The Near mission was designed by Nasa to answer fundamental questions about the many asteroids and comets which come close to Earth's orbit.

It may contain clues about how the Earth and other planets were formed.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

12 Feb 00 | Sci/Tech
Probe nears its rocky target
12 Feb 00 | Sci/Tech
Happy Valentine's from Mars
04 Jan 00 | Sci/Tech
Saving the world from asteroids
09 Feb 99 | Sci/Tech
Eros brought down to size
22 Jul 99 | Sci/Tech
Gold rush in space?
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Sci/Tech stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Sci/Tech stories