Monday, 22 October, 2018


Japan places landers on asteroid

Japanese Space Rovers Send Dazzling Photos From Asteroid Landing Back to Earth Japanese space robots just landed on an asteroid (and took incredible photos)
Kristine Garrett | 25 September, 2018, 13:19

Japan now has two rovers on an asteroid 280 million kilometres from Earth, and they've started sending back the first pictures of life on a very lonely rock. Engineers with the agency deployed the robots early Friday (Sept. 21), but JAXA waited until today (Sept. 22) to confirm the operation was successful and both rovers made the landing safely.

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.

Hayabusa2 reached its intended destination on June 27 near the asteroid, after traveling for more than three years, JAXA said.

The two rovers together are called MINERVA-II1.

And about the "II" in the hoppers' name: The first Hayabusa mission, which was also operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and arrived at the asteroid Itokawa in 2005, featured a hopper named MINERVA.

Hayabusa2 was launched atop a Japanese H-2A rocket on December 3, 2014.

Discovered in 1999 by astronomers in New Mexico, Ryugu is a near-Earth asteroid that orbits the Sun every 16 months, roughly between the orbits of Earth and Mars.

'This is just a real charm of deep space exploration'.

The two robots were released on Thursday when Hayabusa2 spacecraft lowered at an altitude of 180 feet off the surface of the asteroid and confirmed on Saturday.

"Correspondence with MINERVA-II1 has presently halted", JAXA composed on Twitter.

Asteroids are believed to have rich information about the formation of the solar system billions of years ago.

After waiting for the dust to settle in Ryugu's weak gravity, Hayabusa2 will descend into the newly-formed crater to collect pristine soil samples unaffected by solar radiation and other "weathering" effects.

After examining the far distant object and taking samples, Hayabusa2 will depart Ryugu in December 2019 before returning to Earth by the end of 2020 with its cargo of samples.

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