Doug Isbell/Don Savage Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1547

)

December 11, 1998

Helen Worth The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD (Phone: 240/228-5113) NOTE TO EDITORS: N98-71 BRIEFING SCHEDULE FOR NEAR RENDEZVOUS WITH ASTEROID EROS The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft's rendezvous with and orbit insertion of asteroid 433 Eros on Jan. 10, 1999, will be previewed at a media briefing at 1 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 1998, at NASA Headquarters. The briefing will cover mission status, planned activities and science objectives for the first-ever asteroid rendezvous and orbit. The briefing will originate from NASA Headquarters Auditorium, 300 E St., SW, Washington, DC, and will be carried live on NASA TV with two-way question and answer capability for reporters covering the event from participating NASA centers. Panelists will be: * Dr. Carl Pilcher, Director, Solar System Exploration, NASA Headquarters * Dr. Robert W. Farquhar, NEAR Mission Manager, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, MD * Dr. Andrew F. Cheng, Project Scientist, APL * Dr. Donald K. Yeomans, Radio Science Team, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA * Dr. Joseph Veverka, Science Team Head, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Eros Encounter Activities - January 10-14, 1999 The NEAR spacecraft, launched in February 1996, will enter orbit around 433 Eros on Jan. 10, 1999, at 10 a.m. EST. Live video feeds from the Mission Operations and Science Data centers will be provided via a closed circuit to APL's Kossiakoff Center Auditorium, where mission background and status reports also will

be presented throughout the morning starting at 8 a.m. EST for reporters covering the rendezvous. A press briefing at noon EST, Jan. 10, 1999, in the Kossiakoff Auditorium will provide an early look at the rendezvous and early science and mission activities. Color and black-andwhite images of Eros taken during NEAR's approach should be available for distribution. The briefing will be broadcast live on NASA TV with no two-way question-and-answer capability from NASA Centers. Reporters planning to cover the rendezvous at APL should call the Public Affairs office at 240/228-5113 for accreditation. A press briefing at 1 p.m. EST, Jan. 14, 1999, also in the Kossiakoff Auditorium, will provide the latest images, mission information and science results from the first 3-4 days of NEAR's mission at Eros. The briefing will be broadcast live on NASA TV (no two-way question-and-answer). Results will also be posted on the NEAR Website at: http://near.jhuapl.edu NASA Television is available on GE-2, transponder 9C, located at 85 degrees West longitude, with vertical polarization. Frequency is 3880.0 megahertz, with audio on 6.8 megahertz. Audio of the broadcast will be available on voice circuit at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on 407/867-1220, 1240, 1260. - end -