New images from the asteroid Ryugu

The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) has released new images captured by its robots deployed on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu.

On 21 September, the spacecraft spacecraft Hayabusa 2, orbiting Ryugu, approached 55 meters from its surface to release two robots that were stored in a small container at its base.

The surface of the asteroid Ryugu Photo: JAXA
The surface of the asteroid Ryugu Photo: JAXA

One of the main concerns of the mission was the deployment of robots on the surface of the asteroid, since it is much more rugged than they initially thought. Ryugu is covered with craters and many rocks, so it has very few smooth surfaces.

First Images From Ryugu

A first image of the asteroid 900 meters in diameter was then sent back to Earth.

First photo of the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. Photo: JAXA
First photo of the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. Photo: JAXA

The new series of photos of this unusual Solar System feature shows this rugged and rocky landscape.

According to astronomers, Ryugu is a relic of the first moments of our Solar System. His study could shed light on the origin and evolution of our own rocky planet.

The JAXA confirms that the Minerva 1A and Minerva 1B robots work well.

Hayabusa 2 reached Ryugu last June after a trip of 3 ½ years.

Hayabusa 2 reached Ryugu last June after a trip of 3 ½ years. (Artistic representation of the Hayabusa 2 probe and the Ryugu asteroid) Photo: JAXA
Hayabusa 2 reached Ryugu last June after a trip of 3 ½ years. (Artistic representation of the Hayabusa 2 probe and the Ryugu asteroid) Photo: JAXA

These two twins are 18 cm in diameter and weigh 1.1 kg each. They move to the surface of Ryugu by hopping, taking advantage of its low gravity.

In addition, solar cells provide the energy needed for their engines and their various instruments, including wide-angle cameras and sensors that measure surface temperature on the asteroid.

On October 3rd, the Mascot lander will reach the surface of the asteroid. Larger, this 10 kg robot is equipped with an infrared microscope, a magnetometer, a radiometer and a camera.

Hayabusa 2 will complete its mission in the fall of 2019 and will take over the Earth in December 2019. A capsule of samples will be dropped near the Earth in December 2020 and will return to the atmosphere at a speed of 11.6 km / s to land in Australia.

The mother probe will remain in Earth orbit thereafter.

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