Friday, 19 October, 2018

They Made It! Japan's Two Hopping Rovers Successfully Land on Asteroid Ryugu

Японский зонд успешно сел на астероид Japanese Space Rovers Send Dazzling Photos From Asteroid Landing Back to Earth
Grady Vargas | 26 September, 2018, 16:08

Japan made history after dropping two tiny rovers on the asteroid Ryugu located almost 200 million miles away from Earth On Friday, Sept. 21.

JAXA officials announced on Saturday that images beamed back to Earth showed that the MINERVA-II1 rovers had touched down on the asteroid.

The twin MINERVA-II1 rovers, A and B, landed yesterday after being released from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft about 60 meters (~200 feet) above the surface.

They are likely to capture images of the asteroid and measure surface temperatures before a larger rover and a lander are released later.

After the successful landing, the two rovers hopped around on the surface and shot colored images.

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

Analysis of this information confirmed that at least one of the rovers is moving on the asteroid surface.

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Later, a tool-packed cube called MASCOT will be sent down to the asteroid to relay a wealth of readings back to JAXA.

Each weighed only about a kilogram, and after separating from the main spacecraft they approached the asteroid named Ryugu.

A series of specially designed cameras - four on the first rover and three on the second - will take stereo images of the asteroid's surface. The image taken by MINERVA-II1 during a hop allowed me to relax as a dream of many years came true.

The MINERVA rovers were launched from Japan's Hayabusa 2 probe, which has been orbiting an asteroid called Ryuga for a few months now.

Ryugu has very little gravity, so hopping must be done carefully.

To obtain sub-surface samples, Hayabusa2 fill release a five-and-a-half-pound impactor loaded with HMX plastic explosive created to blast out a crater in the surface. Hayabusa 2 doesn't leave until December 2019, and isn't expected to return home until December 2020.

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