Friday, 16 November, 2018

Space robots share first images from the surface of an asteroid

Japan landed a rover on an asteroid, and the 1st photos are out of this world New asteroid rover images released
Doris Mccormick | 30 September, 2018, 15:25

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) took to Twitter to celebrate as two rovers caught photos on the surface of an asteroid called Ryugu. They show slightly tilted close-ups of the rocky surface from different locations.

Hayabusa2, which has been hovering roughly 12 miles (20 kilometers) above the asteroid since it arrived in June, descended to just 180 feet (55 meters) above Ryugu to deploy the rovers from its MINERVA-II lander.

Judging by the sent photos, both Rovers that move around the asteroid with a jump, I "feel" fine and able to transfer the image. Weak gravity on the asteroid makes it hard for the rovers to roll on the surface.

The rover took 1 hour and 14 minutes to shoot the video on 22 September.

A series of photos taken by the same rover that captured the video confirms a "hop" by the robot, according to the Japanese team, which is a big deal for them.

As seen in the night sky from Earth, the asteroid - and the small rovers on it - are now moving across the constellation Virgo and positioned between the planets Mercury and Venus.

Surface image from Rover-1B after landing captured on Sept. 23
Surface image from Rover-1B after landing captured on Sept. 23

Speaking after the initial rover landings, Yuichi Tsuda, project manager for the Hayabusa2 mission, said: "I can not find words to express how happy I am that we were able to realise mobile exploration on the surface of an asteroid".

JAXA scientists reported their joy at the rovers' success.

"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". The internal rotors on these robots that are powered by motors will help them hop and skip across the diamond shaped asteroid's rough blackish surface.

"Therefore, this hopping mechanism was adopted for moving across the surface of such small celestial bodies".

Space probe Hayabusa-2 was launched into space on 3 December 2014 and is created to deliver soil samples from the asteroid, the Ryuga, which is 280 million km from Earth.

The major highlight of the Hayabusa 2 mission will come in October, when the tiny probe will attempt to collect a sample of surface material and return it to the Earth in 2020.

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