Published: Wed, September 26, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Japan’s Hayabusa2 space probe deploys rovers towards asteroid

Japan’s Hayabusa2 space probe deploys rovers towards asteroid

The rovers then sent data, including images, to Hayabusa2 about 20 kilometers above the surface of the asteroid.

"We don't have confirmation yet, but we are very, very hopeful", project manager Yuichi Tsuda said.

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

"We're glad that the Minerva-II 1 rovers took photos as we had expected", said Tetsuo Yoshimitsu, associate professor at JAXA. The photo was captured before landing on the surface of the asteroid. If all goes according to plan and the rovers make it safe to the surface, they should keep on hopping around the asteroid and cover nearly 50 meters per jump.

The successful landings of the first two rovers "made me so happy", said Takashi Kubota, a spokesman for the project. The spacecraft descended from its station-keeping orbit 20km above a small asteroid down to just 60 meters, and there it deployed two miniature rovers bound for the surface.

The two robots will capture colour images of the asteroid and measure temperatures before the agency sends a larger rover in October.

This was announced by the Japanese aerospace exploration Agency (JAXA), writes the Chronicle.info with reference on naked science.

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

On Twitter, the team behind Hayabusa2 explained that the position of the MINERVA-II1 rovers is making it hard to communicate.

The original MINERVA hopper flew aboard JAXA's Hayabusa mission, which arrived in orbit around Itokawa in 2005 and returned a tiny sample of the space rock to Earth in 2010; those previous missions explain the "MINERVA-II" naming system for Hayabusa2.

Hayabusa2's mission will be completed when it returns to earth in 2020 with the samples of rocks it has collected from Ryugu, which is thought to contain water and other materials that could possibly support life. A separate lander, MASCOT, will obtain the samples.

"I CCB so torosani Tim scho TSI malenic Samohin aparati uspsa docut surface asteroid, that scho mi smogli tsogo Domotica 13 years ago".

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