Asteroid Rendezvous: NEAR Shoemaker's Adventures at Eros

The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) was the first mission to orbit and eventually land on an asteroid. The mission was a phenomenal success, returning hundreds of thousands of images, spectra, and other measurements about the large near-Earth asteroid 433 Eros. This book is a collection of essays by some of the scientists and engineers who made NEAR such a success. The entire mission is described here in their own words, from the initial concept studies, through the development phase, launch, cruise operations, the flyby of asteroid Mathilde, the near-catastrophic main engine failure in 1998, the heroic rescue and recovery of the spacecraft, the amazing year-long up-close look at one of our most primitive celestial neighbors, and finally the daring attempt to land the spacecraft on Eros at the end of the mission. The book is liberally illustrated throughout with images from the mission and explanatory diagrams.