Exploring the Solar System

Exploring Asteroids and Comets

How did the NEAR-Shoemaker mission end?

On February 12, 2001, flight engineers gently flew the NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft onto the surface of 433 Eros. It landed at a speed of about three miles per hour—about fast walking speed—and, to the scientists’ delight, the spacecraft survived with only minor damage, even though it was never designed to land. After gathering data at the surface for a few more weeks, NEAR-Shoemaker was shut down on February 28, 2001.


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