Japan Successfully Lands 2 Rovers on Surface of Asteroid Ryugu


Taking advantage of the asteroid's low gravity, the rovers will jump around on the surface - soaring as high as 15 meters (49 feet) and staying in the air for as long as 15 minutes - to survey the asteroid's physical features.

The Japanese space agency said that it has made history by successfully landing two unmanned rovers on an asteroid.

Asteroids such as Ryugu are of such enormous interest to scientists because they are made from the debris that was floating in the disc-shaped cloud of gas and dust known as the solar nebula, after the formation of the Sun.

The rovers are part of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Hayabusa2 asteroid sample-return mission.

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It has taken over three and a half years for the spacecraft Hayabusa2 to make its 319 million kilometre journey to the asteroid Ryugu.

Hayabusa2 has successfully deployed MINERVA-II 1a and MINERVA-II 1b, and they're already hopping around on Ryugu's surface.

The two "MINERVA" landers, which the probe deployed on the asteroid, have already made contact with the mother ship and sent back home some wonderful pictures as well. "This is just a real charm of deep space exploration", Takashi Kubota, a spokesperson for JAXA, said, CNN reported.

Rover in motion. Image captured by Rover-1A on 22 September while moving (during a hop) on the surface of Ryugu. This instrument will dig a hole on the asteroid and collect the sample from below Ryugu's surface and bring it to Earth.

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The next day, JAXA shared an impressionistic image of the landing site: the craggy dark stone of the carbon-rich Ryugu lit by a brilliant beam of light from the sun.

This mission was the first-ever to deploy a rover and land on an asteroid as well as the "world's first man-made object to explore movement on an asteroid surface" and take pictures of the asteroid's surface. The agency has conducted a mission to research on the origin of the solar system.

"I felt awed by what we had achieved in Japan".

Space probe "Hayabusa-2" was launched on 3 December 2014 with the help of the carrier rocket H-2A from the spaceport Tanegashima, located South of Japan. From the crater, materials will be collected which have not been exposed to wind and radiation and hopefully, with them on their hands, the scientists will be able to uncover more of the mysteries that surround life, the universe and whether space elements have contributed to life on Earth.

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