Science

Ryugu’s Surface Photographed By The Two Japanese Rovers In Mid-Jump

Ryugu’s Surface Photographed By The Two Japanese Rovers In Mid-Jump”

Japanese space agency (JAXA) has created history in the field of space astronomy by being the first one in the world to land not one but two robotic explorers on an asteroid's surface.

A computer graphic image provided by Japan's space agency shows two drum-shaped and solar-powered rovers on an asteroid. They show slightly tilted close-ups of the rocky surface from different locations. Japanese unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 released two small Minerva-II-1 rovers on the asteroid Ryugu on September 21.

Taking advantage of Ryugu's low gravity, the rovers hop across the surface of the space rock using a motor-powered internal mass that rotates to generate inertia.

Rover-1B succeeded in shooting a movie on Ryugu's surface! Spine-like projections from the edges of the hoppers are sensors that will measure surface temperatures on the asteroid.

Here's what it looks like to be standing on a rocky, rugged asteroid, hurtling through space 100 million miles (160 million km) from Earth, as the Sun's light beams and flares around you. Announcing the landing on Twitter on September 22, 2018, JAXA scientists tweeted that both rovers were in good condition and were transmitting photos and data.

"I can not find words to express how happy I am", said project manager Yuichi Tsuda when the rovers' safe arrival was confirmed earlier in the week.

Rover 1A takes a picture Ryugu's surface (left) and the reflection of sunlight (right) during one of its first hops across the asteroid.

"I am proud that Hayabusa2 was able to contribute to the creation of this technology for a new method of space exploration by surface movement on small bodies".

Scientists hope that studying the 1-kilometre-wide-asteroid, which is made up of primitive material from the early Solar System, will help them to understand the origins and evolution of Earth and other planets.

On 3 October, the Hayabusa2 mothership will deploy a ship called Mascot, which was developed in Europe by the German Aerospace Center and France's space agency, CNES, and analyse the samples remotely.



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