Printable Version of Topic

Click here to view this topic in its original format

Unmanned _ Cometary and Asteroid Missions _ Forgotten NEAR

Posted by: machi Nov 29 2009, 09:50 PM

First specialized asteroid mission and NEARly forgotten one. And first landing on asteroid!
So it's time to change it.

First image is Mathilde in enhanced colors from 450, 550 and 700 nm filters.
Second is artificially colorised high resolution mosaic (116 m/pix).


Posted by: machi Dec 1 2009, 11:09 AM

Mathilde stereo pair and contrast enhanced artificially colorised image of Mathilde.


Posted by: robspace54 Dec 2 2009, 07:04 PM

I would not say totally forgotten! Here is a 1/36 scale model of NEAR I scratch built many years ago. A college chum and close friend was the structural engineer on the project. He works at JHU/APL.



Posted by: machi Dec 11 2009, 12:03 PM

My first mosaic of Eros.
It's from raw data and because I haven't got calibration data yet, it isn't perfect.
But still it's maybe highest resolution color mosaic of Eros available (Eros is really forgotten object).

I use wrong date (product creation time)! So now it's correct. I'm sorry.


Posted by: Phil Stooke Dec 11 2009, 12:18 PM

Very nice! We had a thread on here until a year ago about Eros, so it's not totally forgotten, but there's a lot more that could be done with the images.


Posted by: tedstryk Dec 11 2009, 08:28 PM

Posted by: Hungry4info Dec 11 2009, 10:41 PM

Wow, tedstyrk, thanks for that link! blink.gif

Posted by: djellison Dec 11 2009, 10:47 PM

YEARS and years ago - probably 3, 4 maybe years before UMSF - I did some mosaics of NEAR images that made it to smile.gif Probably my first 'public' stitching work biggrin.gif

Posted by: tedstryk Dec 12 2009, 12:08 AM

You existed pre-UMSF?

Posted by: djellison Dec 12 2009, 09:15 AM

Bingo - Feb 2001 smile.gif

Are they the first 'bootleg postcards' in the specialist press?

Posted by: nprev Dec 12 2009, 10:06 AM

Wow. So technically you were "born" in the year 3 BU...and here it is, almost 6 AU already! tongue.gif

Posted by: djellison Dec 12 2009, 11:00 AM

9 years? You think I'd have learnt to grow up by now smile.gif

Posted by: tedstryk Dec 12 2009, 01:13 PM

Spaceviews and had used some of my Soviet work at the time, but that is all I can think of.

Posted by: machi Dec 12 2009, 02:11 PM

Wonderfull site, thanks for the link Ted Stryk. I already bookmark this page.

Posted by: ElkGroveDan Dec 12 2009, 05:06 PM

<O.T.> Long before "Photoshop" became a verb, like 1997 or so, some images I created were circulated among reporters I knew from work, and a reporter from USA Today eventually got his hands on them and did a small segment that they called "Altered Reality" or something like that. I was going to make a wildlife calendar of absurd scenes, like the annual migration of Mono Lake penguins returning to California's high desert. A couple of those were printed and I probably have that story in a box somewhere. I really should get around to doing that project now that we have high res SLRs and tools we didn't have back then. </O.T.>

Posted by: machi Dec 21 2009, 07:35 AM

Mosaic from end of the mission.
Color is slightly brownish, but entirely artificial.


Posted by: nprev Dec 21 2009, 07:45 AM

ohmy.gif ...WOW!!! Thanks, Machi!!!

It's amazing how mosaics really bring out the character of a region on a world in a way that single frames just can't. To me, the vast majority of those 'craters' look like collapse pits of some sort. This implies a dusty, not-very-dense regolith subject to mass-wasting events, which sort of makes sense given the very low gravitation (& also probably similar to the surface of comets, albeit with different regolith materials.)

If that conjecture is true, then the obvious question is how did Eros hang onto this loose coating after billions of years of impacts that doubtless shook the hell out of it many, many times? Is the dust self-generated, perhaps by repeated thermal cycles as the asteroid rotates?

Posted by: Hungry4info Dec 21 2009, 11:32 AM

Wow, that's pretty neat.
What is the scale resolution of the final frame? I always wondered how far NEAR was from Eros when that image was taken, how long before landing it was, and how large those rocks were.

Posted by: machi Dec 21 2009, 12:57 PM

Final resolution is 1.2 cm/pix. Altitude was around 125 meters. All images are resampled to same resolution as final image.

Posted by: Hungry4info Dec 22 2009, 02:35 AM

Ah, interesting. Thanks. =)

Of curiosity, why were there no images taken (?) after landing? Camera not pointed at Eros? Eros would have been out of focus?

Posted by: tedstryk Dec 22 2009, 02:59 AM

I believe the camera was under the spacecraft.

Posted by: Antdoghalo Dec 22 2009, 03:20 AM

QUOTE (tedstryk @ Dec 21 2009, 09:59 PM) *
I believe the camera was under the spacecraft.

The camera definitly had to be or else the spacecraft wouldnt be able to image its last moment before landing.
unless it was spining around on landing which it wasnt. wacko.gif

One thing that is weird is why didnt they try to contact NEAR or try to make it image the surface if possible after landing
and if that image had anything in it it would be worth more than a 1000 words about the asteroid.
The image would describe the composition and strangeness of its surface.

Posted by: nprev Dec 22 2009, 09:16 AM

I believe that the HGA was also occluded upon landing; they lost contact with NEAR at that very moment.

Posted by: tedstryk Dec 22 2009, 09:46 AM

They communicated via the LGA for about a month, returning gamma ray data from the surface.

Posted by: nprev Dec 22 2009, 10:30 AM

Ah! Forgot that, Ted, thanks!

You're awake at odd hours I know why!!! biggrin.gif (It helps to remind yourself that it's not forever, man; been there!)

Posted by: YesRushGen Dec 22 2009, 03:20 PM

Re-launching NEAR off of Eros was briefly considered!

Also, if memory serves, an attempt at re-contact was made some months later with no success.

Posted by: robspace54 Dec 24 2009, 04:21 AM

QUOTE (Antdoghalo @ Dec 21 2009, 10:20 PM) *
or try to make it image the surface if possible after landing and if that image had anything in it it would be worth more than a 1000 words about the asteroid.

The attached diagram shows that the MSI (multi-spectral imager) was bore sighted with the other instruments 180 degrees away from the LVA (large velocity adjustment thruster). NEAR-SHOEMAKER was dropped gently onto the surface with the LVA pointing up. That would put the MSI into the surface or very close to it depending upon plowing of the surface during landing. I don't know what the focal length of the MSI was, but the lens would have been WAY tro close to the surface to take a focused image.

And this quote about the landed attitude from a team member:

"From what I've heard, the XGRS instrument is pointed down. We're on the tips of the arrays, with a 15 - 20 degree roll. The two bottom panels are splayed forward, with the two upper panels in their normal positions. The best guess is a 17 degree angle of the main body from horizontal. However, attempts to reconcile the DSAD data (they’re mounted on the solar array hinge arms) with the amount of power being generated have failed. We might be on a slope, the aft end may be on a rock, or the hinge mounts, arms and/or panels might be bent. "


Posted by: jccwrt Jul 22 2018, 04:15 PM

Apologies for the thread necromancy, but I recently reprocessed a few imaging mosaics from the early and mid orbital phases around Eros.

Hopefully will have some time to put together more soon!

Powered by Invision Power Board (
© Invision Power Services (