ibusinesslines.com December 13, 2018

Japan's Hayabusa asteroid rovers send back first footage

28 September 2018, 07:20 | Justin Tyler

The Hayabusa 2 has been traveling to the asteroid for the past 3.5 years conducting research about the asteroid and its composition.

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. They began exploring the surface, snapping pictures and taking videos, giving us a long-awaited ground-level view of an asteroid.

This Sept. 23, 2018 image captured by Rover-1B, and provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows the surface of asteroid Ryugu.

The surface of asteroid Ryugu, taken from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft. The container was launched from the spacecraft Hayabusa2 last week and that spacecraft is now orbiting the asteroid.

One week ago, the craft successfully dropped a small capsule with two rovers onto its surface.

JAXA explained some of the images were blurred "because the rover is spinning" as it approaches the asteroid.

But even with their impressive instruments, probing a massive asteroid is much too big a job for two tiny rovers.

But the rovers proved to be sturdy, operating in optimal conditions across the surface of the space rock Ryugu, which measures only 900 meters across. A sensor-packed cube will also be delivered to the surface and eventually, the spacecraft itself will land on the asteroid to snag a sample of material which it will then return back to Earth. In about a week or so, the duo will be joined by the MASCOT lander, who will use an infrared microscope and wide-angle camera to record Ryugu's structural, compositional and surface characteristics, and also document how well it holds onto heat and what its magnetic properties looks like.

Two Japanese robots have sent back their first video images from the surface of a moving asteroid as part of an unprecedented mission aimed at shedding light on the origins of the solar system.

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