Japan Successfully Lands Robot Rovers on an Asteroid’s Surface

They Made It! Japan's Two Hopping Rovers Successfully Land on Asteroid Ryugu

Rovers from Hayabusa2 land on asteroid

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.

"I am so proud that we have established a new method of space exploration for small celestial bodies", said JAXA's project manager, Yuichi Tsuda.

The asteroid has low gravity, so the rovers will have to hop on its surface as high as 15 meters and stay in the air for about 15 minutes to survey the asteroid and observe its features with sensors and cameras. We also confirmed they are moving on the surface.

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

Two yaponskih minirobot MINERVA-MINERVA II1A I. The space agency reported that MINERVA-II1 is the world's first mobile exploration robot to land on the surface of an asteroid.

Hayabusa2 began its journey on December 3, 2014, and actually had to travel 3.2 billion kilometres to make the rendezvous. This is probably due to the rotation to Ryugu, and MINERVA-II1 is now on the far side of the asteroid.

This computer graphic shows an asteroid and asteroid explorer Hayabusa2. It was taken on Ryugu's surface during a hop. The main Hayabusa 2 vessel should near the surface in October, when it will shoot a tantalum "bullet" into the asteroid so that it can catch particle samples and return them to Earth.

For the first attempt, Hayabusa2 will approach to within a few feet of Ryugu, fire a small projectile into the soil immediately below and use a horn-like collector to capture dust and small fragments kicked up by the impact. A separate lander, MASCOT, will obtain the samples.

"This is a hard mission, but in order for humans to expand from Earth into space, it will be necessary to meet challenges". Hayabusa2 was built after learning from the original mission, and seeks to study its asteroid in greater depth, return a greater amount of material, and deliver insights about the origins of the Solar System.

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