Published: Thu, September 27, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Japan effectively lands wanderers on space rock Ryugu

Japan effectively lands wanderers on space rock Ryugu

The cookie tin-shaped robots reached the Ryugu asteroid a day after they were launched from the Hayabusa2 probe, the agency said.

The rovers were able to send back some wonderful pictures that were transmitted back to Earth via Hayabusa-2. The probe is one of two that landed on Ryugu from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency's Hayabusa2 spacecraft.

The rovers will remain on Ryugu to take samples and examine the space rock until December 2019 before Hayabusa2 departs the diamond-shaped asteroid to make its return to Earth sometime in 2020 bringing along the cargo from the expedition.

This photo shows the view from asteroid Ryugu from the Minerva-II1A.

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We've seen plenty of photos taken from the surface of places other than Earth.

Not only did they land safely, but the rovers also sent a couple of wonderful photos down to Earth.

'I am proud that Hayabusa2 was able to contribute to the creation of this technology for a new method of space exploration by surface movement on small bodies'.

Because Ryugu is so small and doesn't have a significant gravitational field, the landing was particularly hard, but this also allows the rovers to hop around the asteroid, taking photos as they go. Because of the lower gravity on the Astroid, the rovers will jump up to 15 meters to record scientific data.

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"The image taken by MINERVA-II1 during a hop allowed me to relax as a dream of many years came true".

Beneath their desolate surfaces, asteroids are believed to contain a rich treasure-trove of information about the formation of the solar system billions of years ago.

This milestone for Japan is a landmark event in the history of Space Exploration and gives Japan the honor of being the world's first country to achieve observation of an asteroid via robots. During that time, Hayabusa2 will drop four probes 60 metres to Ryugu's surface. Both rovers are confirmed to have landed on the surface of Ryugu.

Hayabusa2 is all set to attempt three brief touch-and-go landings on the asteroid to collect samples in hopes of providing clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth.

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The two rovers will be joined at the beginning of October by a third lander called MASCOT to measure the structure of the minerals, thermal behaviour and magnetic properties of the asteroid.

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