Hayabusa 2 rovers land successfully on asteroid Ryugu:The Asahi Shimbun

Japan space robots start asteroid survey

Its predecessor, Hayabusa, failed to land a rover on the asteroid Itokawa in 2005.

Two rovers have successfully landed on an asteroid called Ryugu, as part of Japanese mission.


The solar-powered rovers' voltage plunged as night fell on Ryugu, a sign that they are on the asteroid, said Hayabusa project team spokesman Takashi Kubota. Each rover remains "airborne" for about 15 minutes with each hop, moving approximately 15 meters (~50 feet) each time.

"Both rovers are in good condition", the agency confirmed on Saturday.

Preparations have been underway for the landing since the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) spacecraft reached the "dumpling-shaped" asteroid in June.

On 3 October, the mothership will deploy a lander called Mascot, which has been developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) together with the French Space Agency (CNES).

Japan space robots start asteroid survey
Japanese space robots just landed on an asteroid (and took incredible photos)

Hayabusa, approaching just 55 meters on Friday to release the rover on the asteroid's surface, has now moved away about 20 kilometers from him, waiting for the next steps of the mission. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.

The rovers are fitted with seven cameras and will take stereo images of the asteroid's surface and are also equipped with temperature gauges, optical sensors, an accelerometer and a set of gyroscopes.

Amazingly, one more picture taken amid one of the wanderer's bounces on the space rock surface made the Project MINERVA-II1 group exceptionally cheerful.

The main spacecraft will collect a sample to bring to Earth for laboratory analysis. "I want to see the scenery of space seen from Ryugu's surface". This should create a small crater and, about two weeks later, allow Hayabusa2 to return and collect a pristine interior sample from the asteroid.

Ryugu has very little gravity, so hopping must be done carefully. It returned, about 1,500 grains of rock, from the surface of the asteroid.

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