Photos from Japanese space rovers show asteroid is ... rocky

Japan's space agency releases first images of asteroid surface

Japan's space agency releases first images of asteroid surface

The twin rovers were deposited on Friday atop the half-mile-wide asteroid Ryugu by their parent spacecraft, the Japanese Space Agency's Hayabusa 2.

A still from a 15-frame movie captured by one of the MINERVA-II1 rovers on the surface of asteroid Ryugu last week.

The agency also posted photos on its official Hayabusa-2 website which showed the location of the image snapped by Hayabusa on the asteroid's surface.

The rovers have sent back some fantastic video as they touched down on the surface of Ryugu and will move slowly along the surface by using the mass inside the probe to create torque. Later, the Hayabusa-2 "mothership" will touch down on the rock, snag a sample, and then fly back to Earth where it is expected to arrive in late 2020.

Unlike the Mars rovers, which require trundling along slowly on wheels, the rovers launched from the Hayabusa2 "mothership" are created to bounce within Ryugu's low gravity in order to navigate the hard terrain.

As quoted on the projects website, Yuichi Tsuda, a project manager, was at a loss for words when the rovers' on-asteroid hopping ability was first confirmed on September 22.

"I can not find words to express how happy I am", project manager Yuichi Tsuda said in a statement after the rovers' safe arrival was confirmed.

The newest Pokemon on the (literal) block is Meltan
On Saturday, Pokemon Go players discovered a brand new Pokemon species shortly after the monthly Community Day event ended. Its arms and legs can corrode metal and it can generate electricity from the metal it absorbs from outside sources.

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 latest photos are actually even better than the first ones the Hayabusa spacecraft sent back.

MINERVA stands for Micro Nano Experimental Robot Vehicle for Asteroid.

Hayabusa2 is scheduled to drop a German-French lander with four observation devices onto the asteroid next week.

However, Rover-1A did capture an image which displays the shadow of its own antenna and pin.

Images on the mission's Twitter account show a mixture of boulders and relatively smooth patches on the surface of Ryugu asteroid, framed by a black sky.

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