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20-Mar-00 | NEAR operations

Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) has completed its first month of unprecedented observations of asteroid 433 Eros. The spacecraft has been renamed NEAR Shoemaker in honour of Dr. Eugene Shoemaker, the late geologist perhaps most famous for his co-discovery of Shoemaker-Levy 9, the comet that slammed into Jupiter in 1994. NEAR Shoemaker is the first spacecraft to orbit any small body, and will spend a year in orbit making detailed observations and gentle burns to move ever closer to Eros. It was launched aboard Delta II flight 232 on 17 February, 1996.

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