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Abbrev. for Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous. A NASA mission launched in Feb. 1996. It was the first mission in NASA's Discovery program, the series of projects dedicated to exploring the Solar System. In June 1997 NEAR encountered the asteroid (253) Mathilde before heading for its chief target, (433) Eros. The probe went into orbit around Eros in Feb. 2000, beginning a year-long intensive investigation of the tiny world, the first such examination ever undertaken. In March 2000, NASA decided to rename the probe NEAR-Shoemaker, to commemorate the comet expert Eugene Shoemaker, who had died in 1997. In a series of maneuvers, project scientists brought NEAR-Shoemaker ever closer to Eros and eventually made a surprise last-minute decision to land it. Thus NEAR-Shoemaker became the first human-built object to land on an asteroid. The landing took place Feb. 12 2001. The probe continued to function after landing and transmitted data back to the Earth, including stunning close-up images of the asteroid's surface, for another 16 days.

What does it mean when you dream about something very close?

If something is very close in a dream, this can indicate that the matter being dealt with in the dream is close to consciousness. The dream also might be drawing on a familiar idiom, such as “nearest and dearest” or a “near miss.”

References in classic literature ?
It is now 12 ,at night, and we are still going nearly west, at a rapid pace.
and nearly calm, as well as I can judge - but it is very difficult to determine this point, since we move with the air so completely.
Oh, my lord," he cried, turning to the chief of police, "how nearly have you caused the death of three innocent people
As it turned out, however, morning found me speeding over a vast expanse of dead sea bottom after nearly six hours of continuous flight at high speed.
In addition to the twin-city formation of Helium, another distinguishing feature is the two immense towers, one of vivid scarlet rising nearly a mile into the air from the center of one of the cities, while the other, of bright yellow and of the same height, marks her sister.
To be sure, the steer was generally blind and frantic, and not especially bent on hurting any one; but think of the chances of running upon a knife, while nearly every man had one in his hand
The original species of our genus were supposed to resemble each other in unequal degrees, as is so generally the case in nature; species (A) being more nearly related to B, C, and D, than to the other species; and species (I) more to G, H, K, L, than to the others.
Yet this man was the owner of several square miles of land, of which nearly every acre would produce corn, and, with a little trouble, all the common vegetables.
I am going to follow," he said, and his eyes nearly popped out of his head as he shuffled along in the wake of the herd.
Now what does this man do but fall back a couple of hundred yards and then come rushing at me as hard as he could tear, with his nail-keg bent down nearly to his horse's neck and his long spear pointed straight ahead.
But perhaps he can't help it,' she said to herself; `his eyes are so VERY nearly at the top of his head.
It was somewhere near this part of the day that the noise of falling waters, which we had faintly caught in the early morning, became more distinct; and it was not long before we were arrested by a rocky precipice of nearly a hundred feet in depth, that extended all across the channel, and over which the wild stream poured in an unbroken leap.