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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book About A Great Space Mission, February 18, 2003
This review is from: Asteroid Rendezvous: NEAR Shoemaker's Adventures at Eros (Hardcover)
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission was the first of NASA's "Faster, Better Cheaper" spacecraft. Its primary mission was to orbit the asteroid 433 Eros, thereby becoming the first robotic explorer to orbit and eventually land on an asteroid. On the journey to Eros, NEAR flew by the main-belt asteroid Mathilde as well as our home planet, the Earth and returned dozens of pictures; however, the journey to Eros was almost lost when a software error caused the main engine to shut down prematurely. Due to the efforts the engineers and scientists supporting this project, the space probe was saved and the NEAR mission became one of the most successful NASA missions. In the end, the mission returned with hundreds of thousands of images, spectra, and other measurements about the large near-Earth asteroid Eros.
In this book, the author, Jim Bell, a planetary scientist and professor at Cornell, has assembled nine different articles about various aspects of this mission into one concise book about all aspects of this specular mission. The book opens with a chapter providing an overview of Eros and then moves into two chapters dedicated to the spacecraft and its mission, and its trip to Eros, from launch to rendezvous. The remaining chapters cover the different discovers made by the NEAR spacecraft, such as its overall landscape, its history, and several on its geology. There is also one chapter, which explains the photography planning, and eventual execution of this plan.
In general, I did not find the book to be very technical and there is a glossary of terms to help the layman as well as numerous photographs, figures and graphs are found throughout the book to further explain a given topic.
If you are interested in planetary exploration or the space program in general, this book would an excellent addition to your library.
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