NEAR Laser Rangefinder (NLR)


    The NEAR Laser Rangefinder (NLR) system is an incoherent, direct detection laser ranger and is part of the engineering subsystem primarily used for spacecraft navigation. It was also used as a laser altimeter to determine the range to points on the surface and hence the shape of the asteroid. It is mounted in a fixed position on the instrument deck of the spacecraft. The NLR operates by transmitting a laser pulse to the surface of the asteroid, receiving the reflection of the pulse from the surface, and recording the round-trip travel time, giving the distance. The primary scientific objectives of the instrument were to determine the size, bulk shape, and surface topography of the asteroid 433 Eros.

    Identifier (LID)




The data sets listed in the table below are PDS3 legacy data sets. Once these data sets have been migrated to PDS4 they will be listed in the section above.

Data set ID Mission phase Browse Download
Raw data (level 1b):
NEAR-A-NLR-2-EDR-CRUISE1-V1.0 Cruise 1 3.4 Mb 2.2 Mb
NEAR-A-NLR-2-EDR-CRUISE2-V1.0 Cruise 2 3.4 Mb 2.2 Mb
NEAR-A-NLR-2-EDR-CRUISE4-V1.0 Cruise 4 4.3 Mb 2.3 Mb
NEAR-A-NLR-2-EDR-EROS/ORBIT-V1.0 Eros Orbit 471 Mb 115 Mb
Higher-level data:

NEAR-A-NLR-5-CDR-EROS/ORBIT-V1.0 Eros Calibrated 3 Gb 891 Mb
NEAR-A-NLR-5-EROS/SHAPE/GRAVITY-V1.0 Eros Shape/Gravity 14 M 5.3 Mb
NEAR-A-NLR-6-EROS/MAPS/MODELS-V1.0 Eros Maps/Models 23 Mb 12 Mb

Note: Data acquired on 2000-01-21 (injection) and 2000-10-25 (low altitude flyover #1) were not calibrated and do not have a corresponding Level 2 product.

Highlighted links:

  • NLR Along-Track Profiles - The NAV/NLR team generated along-track profile plots in JPEG format. Each image represents one Level 2 time series of calibrated ranges for a daily profile. Each image contains multiple along-track profile plots including the radius, longitude, and latitude of Eros at bounce points as well as range measurements. The name for each daily JPEG file contains the year and day of year of the observations.
  • NLR Browse images for Eros Shape and Data Coverage

For questions about the data sets or this web site, contact us at