NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Asteroid 253 Mathilde. NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) spacecraft image of Asteroid 253 Mathilde. Mathilde is about 59 by 47 kilometres (km) across. It is the commonest type (C-class) of asteroid, its carbonaceous chondritic rocks ref- lecting only 3.6% of the light that falls on it. Its surface is marked by many large impact crat- ers; the shadowed crater (at centre) is about 10 km deep. Mathilde orbits the Sun in the asteroid belt at distances of 290-500 million kilometres (2-3.5 times the radius of Earth's orbit). Its orbit is 4.3 years long and it rotates about once every 17 days. Image taken on 27 June 1997 at a distance of 2400 km & a resolution of 380 metres.
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