Japan’s space agency (JAXA) made a significant breakthrough after its asteroid-sampling space probe Hayabusa-2 successfully deployed two robotic explorers on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. The small rovers will travel around the 1-km-wide space rock. Now the probes sent back home the first images since they landed on the asteroid, on Friday.
“Both rovers are in good condition,” JAXA stated on Saturday. Also, on Twitter, the Japanese space agency announced the successful landing of the two robotic rovers deployed a few days ago by Hayabusa-2.
“We are sorry we have kept you waiting! MINERVA-II1 consists of two rovers, 1a & 1b. Both rovers are confirmed to have landed on the surface of Ryugu. They are in good condition and have transmitted photos & data. We also confirmed they are moving on the surface,” JAXA said on Twitter.
The two robotic rovers deployed by Hayabusa-2 on asteroid Ryugu sent home the first images of the space rock
“This is a picture from MINERVA-II1. The color photo was captured by Rover-1A on September 21 around 13:08 JST, immediately after separation from the spacecraft. Hayabusa2 is top and Ryugu’s surface is below. The image is blurred because the rover is spinning,” stated JAXA.
“This dynamic photo was captured by Rover-1A on September 22 at around 11:44 JST. It was taken on Ryugu’s surface during a hop. The left half is the surface of Ryugu, while the white region on the right is due to sunlight,” wrote JAXA officials on Twitter.
Hayabusa-2 will continue its mission on asteroid Ryugu, which is to explore the space rock and take a sample of its soil to bring it home for further studies. The scientists hope the asteroid-sampling mission would reveal more about asteroids’ composition, as well as about the evolution of our solar system.
Hayabusa-3 is set to come back to Earth in December 2020.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.