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bison

Hayabusa 2 at Asteroid Ryugu

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bison

The asteroid probe of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), known as Hayabusa 2, is expected to begin its official approach phase to asteroid Ryugu on Tuesday, June 5th. It will then be about 2500 kilometers from the asteroid. Its ion engines will cut off and the probe will coast the rest of the way. A new, though low resolution, image of the asteroid is expected at that time, 

The asteroid  Ryugu is small, in the neighborhood of 900 meters in diameter. Its light curve suggest that it rotates in about 7.6 hours. The light curve was almost steady, suggesting that the asteroid is nearly spherical in shape. That's interesting because objects as small as this do not have sufficient gravity to pull themselves into neat spheres. 

Please find a link to an article, with further details, below:

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2018/0525-keep-up-with-hayabusa2.html

 

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bison
Posted (edited)

JAXA had a press conference today. They reported that the Hayabusa 2 probe is working properly, and will continue to approach Ryugu, preparatory to eventual landing on the asteroid. Further information about the mission, and its findings so far, will be released over the next few days.

A low resolution image of Ryugu was released. While already close to the asteroid, by interplanetary standards, about 2600 kilometers, the image shows limited detail. From what can be gathered, the asteroid may be less a sphere than a hemisphere. The upper part in this image looks flattened. Very much better images will be gotten, as Hayabusa 2 continues to approach its objective.

Please find a link to the image of asteroid Ryugu, below:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DfFHwPIXkAAGeXo.jpg 

Edited by bison
corrected link address
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bison
Posted (edited)

The Hayabusa 2 probe is now reportedly only about 1500 kilometers away from Ryugu. Maneuvering thrusters have been used to apply fine corrections to the probe's trajectory, as it draws nearer the asteroid.

Navigation is being done by camera, by repeatedly noting the positions of Ryugu, and certain stars. A new image of the asteroid has been released. It is still low in resolution, but offers considerable improvement over the previous one.

The asteroid is obviously quite compact in shape, rather than elongated. Again, it appears rounded, but rather flat on one side; something like a dome, turned sideways.  A report from JAXA, with images, is linked, below:

http://www.hayabusa2.jaxa.jp/topics/20180611b_e/   

Edited by bison
added descriptive details
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bison

Hayabusa 2 is now just 750 kilometers from Ryugu. It is moving toward the asteroid at about 1.7 meters per second, equivalent to a brisk walking pace.

They surveyed the area around the asteroid with one of the cameras, looking for moons, or orbiting debris that might need to be avoided. None were found.

A new image of the asteroid has been released; it gives nearly three times the resolution of the previous one, and is linked below. It has been confirmed by Hayabusa that the asteroid rotates in about 7.6 hours, a value previously assigned by observations from Earth.

https://imgur.com/Y86PZsp

Edited by bison
removed superfluous word, added information
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L.A.T.1961

Images are starting to get interesting. :D 

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bison

Here is a motion study of asteroid Ryugu, made up of separate images. The images have been processed to smooth the pixel edges, and to bring out faint surface details. One can see surface features come and go as the asteroid rotates. Ryugu gives the impression of having an equatorial bulge, which is common in loosely consolidated 'rubble pile' asteroids.

http://www.hayabusa2.jaxa.jp/topics/20180616je/index.html 

Edited by bison
omitted superfluous word
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Alien Origins

Interesting stuff fellas....

Edited by Alien Origins

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