Japanese space agency lands rovers on asteroid

Два японских мини-робота совершили первую в истории успешную посадку на астероид

Два японских мини-робота совершили первую в истории успешную посадку на астероид

The stunning shots were taken as part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Hayabusa2 asteroid sampling mission on the Ryugu asteroid's surface.

The agency shared the pictures through tweets. The craft has previously flown tantalizingly close to the asteroid's surface for the goal of measuring its gravitational pull; while descending to Ryugu this time, Hayabusa2 travelled from its orbit 12.

After the rovers separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft and landed on the asteroid Ryugu, JAXA, in a statement, said that the two rovers are in good condition and are transmitting images and data, CNN reported.

Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 project manager 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.

The two rovers are cylindrical in shape and rather small - just 7 cm tall with a diameter of 18 cm.

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In October, the Hayabusa2 probe will deploy an "impactor" that will explode above the asteroid, shooting a 2kg copper missile to blast a small crater into the surface. The Rover-2 incorporates several cameras as well as optical and ultraviolet LEDs for illumination that will help it detect floating dust particles.

The team behind the expedition faced a nervous two-day wait for the Minerva-II rovers to send back information, but on Sunday, they confirmed the rovers landed. It involves Hayabusa 2 moving close to the asteroid before firing what can be loosely described as a 2-kg "bullet" into the rock.

The probe will then collect fresh materials from inside the crater which have not been exposed to wind and radiation.

After examining the far distant object and taking samples, Hayabusa2 will depart Ryugu in December 2019 before returning to Earth by the end of 2020 with its cargo of samples. But once it's here, scientists will be eager to analyze the samples as they seek to unlock some of the enduring mysteries of our solar system.

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