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J.F. Veverka (Cornell University), NEAR MSI-NIS Team
Eros is a very elongated body (31 x 13 x 13 km) in a stable spin state about its maximum moment of inertia axis. Most of the surface is saturated with craters 500 to 1000 meters in diameter, but there is a remarkable deficiency of craters at smaller diameters. The largest crater is 5.3 km across, but there is a 10 km saddle-like depression with attributes of a large degraded crater. Surface lineations, including both grooves and ridges, are prominent on Eros. One ridge cuts across the saddle and extends for 15 km across the asteroid. Ejecta blocks (100 meters across and smaller) litter the surface but are not uniformly distributed over the asteroid. The NEAR camera MSI has mapped the entire surface of Eros at resolutions of 5 meters or better. Complementary spectral data (800 to 2500 nm) obtained by the Near-infrared Spectrometer (NIS) at resolutions as high as 400-800 meters cover over 80% of the surface. The average spectrum of Eros is consistent with a fairly uniform olivine to pyroxene ratio similar to the S(IV) asteroid class and LL-chondrites. On scales of 200 m to 1 km, Eros is very bland in terms of spectral variability, more so than S-type asteroids Gaspra or Ida. Albedo variations are largely restricted to the interiors of certain craters and may be related to downslope movement of regolith. The measured mean density of 2.67+/-0.10 gm/cm3 implies internal porosities ranging from about 10 to 30% if Eros is made of ordinary chondrite material. No satellites (down to a diameter of 20 meters) have been detected.