Japan spacecraft sends rovers to asteroid

24 September, 2018, 03:36 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • The probe can be seen as a shadow on the asteroid

The solar panelled-powered rovers move by "hopping" because the extremely weak gravity on the asteroid makes rolling hard.

Up next for the Hayabusa-2 mission is another rover, dubbed Mascot. The spacecraft arrived near the asteroid, about 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) from Earth, in June.

"Undocking MINERVA-II1 confirmed! State of the spacecraft is normal", - said representatives of JAXA on Twitter as soon as the Rover was released from the probe.

Unfortunately, JAXA engineers will need to wait a couple of days to receive confirmation that the rovers are ready to perform their scientific duties. "The rover is expected to remain in the air for up to 15 minutes after a single hop before landing, and to move up to 15 m [50 feet] horizontally". Today, those weird little rovers were successfully launched, but now JAXA - along with the rest of the world - is waiting with baited breath: did the probes land successfully, or will this be a repeat of JAXA's last botched attempt in 2005? "We don't have confirmation yet, but we are very, very hopeful", JAXA's Yuichi Tsuda reportedly said.


"We are now working to confirm if there are images capturing the MINERVA-II1 landing".

Right about now, there should be two tiny rovers hopping around the surface of the large asteroid Ryugu. "I am looking forward to seeing pictures".

But these springy rovers aren't the only trick Hayabusa-2 has up its sleeve. The Hayabusa-2 will then depart in December 2019, bringing the rocks back to Earth for researchers to study. However, due to the rotation Ryuga lost the connection, before I could get any image with the descent to its surface. The pair of rovers, collectively known as MINERVA-II1, is attached to the bottom of the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft and will be released on September 21.

The mission is a successor to the Hayabusa probe, which was launched in 2003 and returned to Earth in 2010, but failed to successfully drop a lander on its target asteroid.

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