Japanese explorer robot lands on asteroid

26 September, 2018, 03:33 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
  • This computer graphic image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency shows two drum-shaped and solar-powered Minerva-II-1 rovers that were released on an asteroid on Friday

Japan made history after dropping two tiny rovers on the asteroid Ryugu located almost 200 million miles away from Earth On Friday, Sept. 21.

The 2 robotic vehicles were released on Friday, Japan time, after the Hayabusa2 descended from an altitude of 20,000 meters to 55 meters from the asteroid's surface.

The lander is carrying four observation devices as well as a larger rover called Minverva-II-2.

The agency tried but failed in 2005 to land a rover on another asteroid in a similar mission.

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This was reported by the press service of the Japanese aerospace exploration Agency (JAXA).

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

The spacecraft is so named because of a previous Japanese mission, Hayabusa, that explored the asteroid Itokawa about a decade ago.

Hayabusa2 arrived at Ryugu on June 28, 2018 after a almost four year journey. Operations with MASCOT are scheduled to begin in October, with the first touchdown planned for October 3, 2018.

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"We're glad that the Minerva-II 1 rovers took photos as we had expected", said Tetsuo Yoshimitsu, associate professor at JAXA.

MINERVA-II1 - TSE perch have in Moblin goslin of work, that VisAbility to the surface asteroid. The image taken by MINERVA-II1 during a hop allowed me to relax as a dream of many years came true. "The mother delivers itself will likewise make a few attacks to the surface in 2019, to snatch space rock material that will become back to Earth in December 2020". "This is just a real charm of deep space exploration".

One of the purposes of Thursday night's rover landing attempt is to gather images of and data about the surface of Ryugu in preparation for the sampling attempt.

It will then collect samples from the asteroid before flying home to Earth, where the samples will be scientifically analysed. It returned, about 1,500 grains of rock, from the surface of the asteroid.

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