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NEAR Flyby of Asteroid Mathilde
News story originally written on July 3, 1997
On June 27, 1997, the NEAR spacecraft passed very close to the asteroid Mathilde. NEAR stands for Near Earth Asteroid Rendevous.
Mathilde is a big asteroid. It is about 600 football fields across! This makes it the biggest asteroid a spacecraft has visited.
The NEAR spacecraft found five big craters on the surface of Mathilde. But it did not find water on the surface.
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