NEAR's Flyby of 253 Mathilde: Images of a C Asteroid

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Science  19 Dec 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5346, pp. 2109-2114
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5346.2109

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On 27 June 1997, the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft flew within 1212 kilometers of asteroid 253 Mathilde. Mathilde is an irregular, heavily cratered body measuring 66 kilometers by 48 kilometers by 46 kilometers. The asteroid's surface is dark (estimated albedo between 0.035 and 0.050) and similar in color to some CM carbonaceous chondrites. No albedo or color variations were detected. The volume derived from the images and the mass from Doppler tracking of the spacecraft yield a mean density of 1.3 ± 0.2 grams per cubic centimeter, about half that of CM chondrites, indicating a porous interior structure.

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