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.
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.
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.
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.
Bryce Fortino is a Senior Politics Reporter at Spruce Tribune covering state and national politics, . Before joining Spruce Tribune Chronicle, Bryce worked on several provincial campaigns including Jack Layton. Bryce has worked as a freelance journalist in Toronto, having been published by over 20 outlets including CBC, the Center for Media and VICE.com.