Japan lands robot rovers on asteroid's surface

Rovers from Hayabusa2 land on asteroid

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

And they're doing quite well indeed. The data was given by Japanese space office JAXA, who likewise shared pictures caught by the tests. "We have confirmed both rovers landed on the surface of asteroid Ryugu". They are in good condition and have transmitted photos & data.

However, the wait is just a small setback, so the two Minerva-II rovers should swing back into view soon enough. It was taken on Ryugu's surface during a hop.

"I was so moved to see these small rovers successfully explore an asteroid surface because we could not achieve this at the time of Hayabusa, 13 years ago". In Figure 1, although the image is blurred due to the rover rotating, you can clearly see the body of Hayabusa2 and the paddle of the solar cells. Communication with the two landers stopped of touchdown.

The spacecraft is set to release a German-French lander called MASCOT carrying four observation devices in early October and a bigger rover called Minerva-II-2 next year. And thus we are left with a suspenseful situation. It arrived at Ryugu on June 27, 2018 and is scheduled to depart from the asteroid in December 2019 in order to return to our planet in December 2020.

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

This is a daring sample maneuver. They can continue jumping as long as their solar panels and power last, JAXA said.

All the while, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft will be mapping Ryugu and studying its surface with optical navigation cameras, a near-infrared spectrometer, a thermal-infrared imager and laser system to precisely map the topography of the asteroid. It measures about 920 meters across, and its relative proximity to Earth makes it a good candidate for a sampling mission like Hayabusa2.

Known as MINERVA-II1, the rovers are collectively world's first mobile exploration robot to land on the surface of an asteroid. (1.1 kilograms) - kicks off an ambitious surface-exploration campaign at the big asteroid.

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