Woo-hoo! NEAR intact!

Incredibly, NASA (the agency that brought you Mars Polar Pancake) has managed to soft-land the NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft on asteroid 433 Eros! They are still receiving telemetry! I must stop using so many exclamation points, but this is really cool!

Link!!! Link!!! Link!!!

[sub]Sorry, I got carried away with all the exclaimation points.[/sub]

Here’s the official Near Earth Asteroid Rendevous site:


The have a “News Flash” on the touchdown.

I got to see it “live” (limited information on a 17 minute delay . . . ) on NASA Tee Vee! It wasn’t on the main NASA channel, though, which is showing the very banal Space Shuttle.

That is really cool. I remember when they first had pictures of Eros as a whole. I think it was 2-3 months ago. That’s awesome.

Foo! Call me when they get to Pluto!

Naw – this is really pretty cool. IIRC there won’t be any more images, right?

They’re going to try to get NEAR to resend its last image (from 170 m above the surface). The transmission of that image was cut off, probably when NEAR hit the surface. They’ll also try to command the craft to take a new image, but there are no guarantees that the camera is a) functional or b) pointed at anything interesting. The only have Deep Space Network antenna time until Febuary 14. They’ll have a press conference on the 14th to discuss any findings.

There’s still a glimmer of hope for Pluto.