Japan lands rovers on asteroid in historic mission

Japan lands rovers on asteroid in historic mission

Japan lands rovers on asteroid in historic mission

"We don't have confirmation yet, but we are very, very hopeful", Yuichi Tsuda, JAXA project manager, told reporters. JAXA released a photo taken by Rover 1A while it was hopping from one location to another and by Rover 1B during its journey down to the surface. During that time, Hayabusa2 will drop four probes 60 metres to Ryugu's surface.

Weighing some 0.6 metric tons, the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft was launched on December 3, 2014 by JAXA on mission to explore asteroid Ryugu, retrieve materials from it and bring them to Earth.

"Both rovers are in good condition", the agency confirmed on Saturday.

The asteroid's low gravity means they can hop across it, capturing temperatures and images of the surface.

The agency will also deploy two other robots: one is called MASCOT in October, and next year it will send another small hopper rover.

MinervaII1 is a 3.3 kg minimal bundle comprising the two treat tin formed wanderers, Rover-1A and Rover-1B, which are now working on the space rock surface.

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The first Hayabusa mission also carried a MINERVA rover, but it did not successfully reach the surface.

Further on in the mission, Japan's space agency plans to detonate an explosive charge that will punch a crater into the surface of Ryugu.

MINERVA-II1 - TSE perch have in Moblin goslin of work, that VisAbility to the surface asteroid.

Hayabusa2 is scheduled to leave Ryugu in November-December 2019 with the sample return capsule landing near Woomera, Australia in December 2020. The image taken by MINERVA-II1 during a hop allowed me to relax as a dream of many years came true. "This is just a real charm of deep space exploration", said Takashi Kubota, a spokesman for the space agency.

While the first images were less than awe-inspiring, successive shots show a craggy, pitted surface fit for a Hollywood blockbuster.

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.

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