Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous

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Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) The first of the NASA Discovery missions, launched on 17 February 1996. The spacecraft was equipped with an X-ray/gamma ray spectrometer, near-infrared imaging spectrograph, multispectral camera with CCD (see CHARGE-COUPLED DEVICE) imaging detector, laser altimeter, and magnetometer. A radio science experiment was also performed to estimate the gravity field of Eros. On 27 June 1997, the NEAR spacecraft approached to within 1200 km of Mathilde. The spacecraft reached and achieved orbit around Eros, returning large amounts of data, and at the end of its mission was deliberately crashed to the surface, returning more data.