Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Japanese release fantastic movie shot from the surface of asteroid Ryugu

Rover 1A Hops on Asteroid Ryugu Modal Trigger Rover 1A Hops on Asteroid Ryugu. ISAS JAXA Hayabusa2 Mission
Doris Mccormick | 28 September, 2018, 19:20

New photos taken on the surface of an asteroid show that it is (drumroll, please). rocky. The image was captured by the main spacecraft's telescopic optical navigation camera, or ONC-T, as it closed in on Ryugu for the rover drop on September 21.

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.

Japan's Hayabusa 2 mission to Ryugu is among the most bold and ambitious space missions that humans have ever launched and now, for the first time, we as a species have captured video footage on the surface of an asteroid.

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. The 15-frame video was shot over the course of 1 hour and 14 minutes on September 23.

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft has been snapping images and its rovers have been cruising the surface of the asteroid snapping pics.

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The rovers don't have wheels but jump around the asteroid.

"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.

That hop propels the rovers into the air for up to 15 minutes and allows the rover to move up to nearly 50 feet horizontally along the asteroid's surface.

Hayabusa2 Project spokesperson Takashi Kubota said the mission was "a dream of many years [which] came true".

The pins on the rovers have a few roles: they increase friction when hopping, protect the solar cells that power the robots when landing, and a few of the pins have a sensor that can measure the asteroid's surface temperature directly. Several more probes are scheduled to be sent onto Ryugu's surface in the coming months to gather even more information from the asteroid with plans to return to Earth at the end of 2019.

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