Japan Lands 2 Robot Rovers on Asteroid Surface

Japan Lands 2 Robot Rovers on Asteroid Surface

The dusty, rocky surface of the asteroid is in full view, as is a distorted blob of light that is actually the distant Sun.

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

Last week, Japan made history when two of its rovers successfully landed on the asteroid 162173 Ryugu.

After their deployment, the rovers sent pictures of the two compact mobile exploration robots back to Earth for everyone to see. Blurred due to a rotating rover, JAXA points out the body of Hayabusa2 (the speck at the top) and the paddle of solar cells (appearing in blue). The craft has previously flown tantalizingly close to the asteroid's surface for the objective of measuring its gravitational pull; while descending to Ryugu this time, Hayabusa2 travelled from its orbit 12. It was taken on Ryugu's surface during a hop.

Two MINERVA rovers were deployed on September 21 and both have successfully landed.

Yuichi Tsuda, project manager for Hayabusa2, says, 'I can not find words to express how happy I am that we were able to realise mobile exploration on the surface of an asteroid.

Japan now has two rovers on an asteroid 280 million kilometres from Earth.

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After the initial landing, the two rovers continue to collect data by hopping across the asteroid and taking photos.

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

Image: The surface of Ryugu is in the lower right.

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I felt awed by what we had performed in Japan.

The Rovers are created to move on the surface of the asteroid using a special rotating flywheel, which allows them to overcome distance jumps -the usual drive wheels on the surface of the asteroid is impossible because of the low gravity.

"We affirmed that both flying machines arrived on the surface of the space rock ryugu".

In late October, Hayabusa2 is set to launch the third rover called MASCOT. Soon after the probe itself will touch down the soil of the asteroid and bring back some samples of Ryugu to Earth.

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