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Space & Astronomy

Japan makes history as rovers land on asteroid

By T.K. Randall
September 22, 2018 · Comment icon 17 comments

The two rovers will hop around on the asteroid's surface. Image Credit: JAXA
Japan's space agency JAXA has succeeded in landing two tiny hopping robots on the asteroid Ryugu.
The two mobile rovers - the first ever to land on the surface of an asteroid - were deployed on Friday from the main Hayabusa2 spacecraft which arrived in orbit around the asteroid back in June.

Part of the Japanese Space Agency's MINERVA-II1 program, the plucky little rovers have been designed to hop around on the asteroid's surface while snapping pictures and recording data.

"We are sorry we have kept you waiting!" JAXA wrote earlier today. "MINERVA-II1 consists of two rovers, 1a and 1b. Both rovers are confirmed to have landed on the surface of Ryugu. They are in good condition and have transmitted photos and data."

"We also confirmed they are moving on the surface."
Even with the success of the two rovers, the mission is far from over. Next month, another, much larger rover called MASCOT will be deployed, followed by another hopping robot next year.

The asteroid itself is situated approximately 186 million miles away and is around 1km in diameter.

The mission's ultimate goal will be to retrieve a sample of rock and return it to Earth for study.



Source: Space.com | Comments (17)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by pallidin 6 years ago
Amazing.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Still Waters 5 years ago
https://www.aol.co.uk/news/2019/02/22/japanese-spacecraft-touches-down-on-distant-asteroid/
Comment icon #10 Posted by Eldorado 5 years ago
Related news... "A new image from Japan's Hayabusa-2 spacecraft reveals a dark splodge where it touched down on the surface of an asteroid last week. The discolouration could have been caused by grit being blown upwards by the spacecraft's thrusters, or by the bullet it fired into the ground." Pics and report: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47359152
Comment icon #11 Posted by Eldorado 5 years ago
"A movie captured by Japan's Hayabusa-2 spacecraft shows the moment it touched down on an asteroid. The probe was attempting to grab a sample of rock from the 1km-wide body known as Ryugu, on 21 February (GMT). The footage shows dusty fragments lifting up as the spacecraft fires a "bullet" at 300m/s into the surface." Video at the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47459248
Comment icon #12 Posted by bison 5 years ago
Its been revealed at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference that the Asteroid Ryugu, is very rocky, and relatively young as asteroids go, less than 100 million years old. It's also reported to be very dry, and is one of the darkest objects in the solar system. It's  thought to be of the 'rubble pile' class of asteroids, made of many loosely consolidated pieces, with a good deal of open space between them.         The Hayabusa 2 probe will eventually fire a large projectile into the asteroid, leaving a 10 meter-wide, one meter-deep crater. This should turn up some deeper sample materi... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by bison 5 years ago
Hayabusa 2 is set to fire its large, crater-making projectile into asteroid Ryugu tomorrow, at 2:36 GMT. The projectile, made of a slightly curved copper plate will be formed into a cone by its explosive launch. It will be launched from a detachable unit, while Hayabusa 2 retreats around to the back of the asteroid to avoid being struck by any of the flying debris. Once the dust settles, in a couple of weeks, they'll bring it back around to inspect the new crater. They hope to eventually land and collect samples from the crater and/or its surroundings.     
Comment icon #14 Posted by bison 5 years ago
The large  Hayabusa 2 projectile was successful in striking the surface of asteroid Ryugi. A deployable camera was just able to catch sight of the impact. A slight trace of debris could be seen rising from the surface of the asteroid. This debris appeared to rise at an angle, suggesting that the impactor may have struck an inclined surface, rather than flat terrain. There was only limited accuracy in selecting where the projectile would land. Given the possible slope, and the very low gravity on the asteroid, it's conceivable that the impact inadvertently caused a landslide. In a few weeks... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by third_eye 5 years ago
That means Ultraman is on his way. tat tat tar rrrrr!  ~
Comment icon #16 Posted by Still Waters 5 years ago
 
Comment icon #17 Posted by bison 5 years ago
 Judging by the video of alternating 'before' and 'after' images, the explosion appears to have pushed several rocks outward from the center of the explosion area, without blasting them entirely out of the newly formed crater.  It appears that the bulk of the excavated material, now missing from view, was relatively fine-grained.


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