Japan's Hayabusa2 space probe deploys rovers towards asteroid

Japan Becomes First Country To Land On An Asteroid As TIE-Fighter-Shaped Hyabusa2 Space Probe Unleashes Tiny Rovers Onto Ryugu In Historic First

Up next for the Hayabusa-2 mission is another rover, dubbed Mascot.

Later in the mission, scheduled for the end of October, the spacecraft itself will land on the asteroid after blowing a small crater in it using explosives, so samples which have not been exposed to space can be gathered from below the object's surface.

Right about now, there should be two tiny rovers hopping around the surface of the large asteroid Ryugu.

The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft has sent two small robotic probes toward the asteroid Ryugu, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced on September 21.

The main focus of this JAXA scientific mission is to violently throw a projectile at asteroid Ryugu to cause a shock on the surface and collect the dust thrown by the impact. And about that "II" business: A MINERVA hopper flew aboard the original Hayabusa mission, which arrived at the asteroid Itokawa in 2005. These rovers are hexagonal in shape and measure 7 inches wide. These small rovers hop rather than crawl.

The two Minerva-II robots are created to take advantage of the asteroid's low gravity, making long hops across its surface.

"There are four cameras on Rover-1A and three cameras on Rover-1B. I want to see images of space as seen from the surface of the asteroid", he said. "Additional instruments on the rovers include optical sensors, an accelerometer and a gyroscope". Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) statement reads. The maximum communication speed is 32 kbps. To date, there has been only one soft touchdown on an asteroid, and that was NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous-Shoemaker spacecraft, which landed on the asteroid Eros in 2001. The operation started when the probe was approximately 55 metres over rough rocky surface of the asteroid, as told by the mission team.

C-type asteroids, which are largely composed of carbon, are the most common variety of asteroids, comprising more than 75% of those now discovered.

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