Rovers land on asteroid


They were deployed from Hayabusa 2's MINERVA-II-1 container at about 00:06 EDT, September 21 at an altitude of approximately 180 feet (55 meters) above Ryugu. The rovers came from the spacecraft Hayabusa2.

'The two rovers are in good condition and are transmitting images and data, ' a statement said.

While the first images were less than awe-inspiring, successive shots show a craggy, pitted surface fit for a Hollywood blockbuster. "Both rovers are confirmed to have landed on the surface of Ryugu".

Tokyo Two small robotic rovers released from an unmanned Japanese spacecraft have landed on an asteroid 300 million kilometres away from earth.

Measuring just 18-by-7cms and weighing about one kilo, MINERVA-II1 rovers will take advantage of Ryugu's low gravity to hop about the surface of the asteroid, which is approximately one kilometer in diameter.

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"I can not find words to express how happy I am that we were able to realize mobile exploration on the surface of an asteroid", said JAXA program manager Yuichi Tsuda.

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

Hayabusa2 is scheduled to attempt three brief touch-and-go landings on the asteroid to collect samples in hopes of providing clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth. "I was particularly impressed with the images taken from close range on the asteroid surface", said Makoto Yoshikawa, Hayabusa 2 Project Mission Manager.

The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014 and will return to Earth with its samples in 2020.

Since it arrived at Ryugu, scientists have been looking for suitable landing sites on the uneven surface, and its first attempt is expected in October. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.