Japan’s MINERVA-II1 rovers send pictures after landing on asteroid Ryugu

Posted September 27, 2018

The rovers are fitted with seven cameras and will take stereo images of the asteroid's surface and are also equipped with temperature gauges, optical sensors, an accelerometer and a set of gyroscopes. The rovers, collectively identified as MINERVA-II, were launched from the spacecraft Hayabusa2 on Friday.It marks the principle time cell robots have efficiently landed on an asteroid, and it be a important milestone for Hayabusa2, an unmanned exploration mission launched in December 2014.

Also, on Twitter, the Japanese space agency announced the successful landing of the two robotic rovers deployed a few days ago by Hayabusa-2.

The second photo that was released by JAXA shows Rover-1B's immediate deployment from the spacecraft.

In October, the Hayabusa2 probe will deploy an "impactor" that will explode above the asteroid, shooting a 2kg copper missile to blast a small crater into the surface.

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A shot the Hayabusa2 spacecraft took back in June of asteroid 162173 Ryugu.

One picture from the surface is blurred as it was taken mid-jump.

The two "MINERVA" landers, which the probe deployed on the asteroid, have already made contact with the mother ship and sent back home some awesome pictures as well.

With the effective getting the MINERVA meanderers turned into the main ever versatile robots to direct perceptions on a space rock.

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"The good news made me so happy", Hayabusa2 project spokesperson Takashi Kubota said. JAXA tweeted that the rovers are in good condition and moving on the surface. Since the gravity on Ryugu is weak, it is expected that after a hop the rover will stay in air for about 15 minutes before landing back on the ground.

There have been some anxious moments when the verbal exchange link with the bots became misplaced quickly after separation."Conversation with MINERVA-II1 has for the time being stopped".

The two landers are meant to study the composition of Ryugu, a primitive carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid, with the ultimate objective of gathering more information about the development of the inner planets of the solar system.

Part of Hayabusa2's payload is four rovers: three Minerva-II rovers, and a Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) rover.

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