Japanese rovers beam back more awesome pictures from asteroid’s surface

Japan landed a rover on an asteroid, and the 1st photos are out of this world

New asteroid rover images released

"I can not find words to express how happy I am that we were able to realize mobile exploration on the surface of an asteroid" enthused Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 Project Project Manager, "I am proud that Hayabusa2 was able to contribute to the creation of this technology for a new method of space exploration by surface movement on small bodies".

Part of a collection of media released by the agency, the video shows the rocky surface of the asteroid and the sun moving across the sky, as seen from the asteroid.

Hayabusa-2 landed on the asteroid 162173 Ryugu in June but began its descent on Thursday morning, September 20, while preparing to eject its two rovers.

The landers successfully touched down on the asteroid's surface on Sunday.

The rovers are designed in a manner so that they can hop along the asteroid's surface and take photos and gather data. The time interval of creation of the frames was about an hour.

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As they image the asteroid, the probes will also use finely tuned sensors to record surface temperatures at each destination.

One of the rovers also captured a video of Ryugu in motion. The Ryugu asteroid is only 900 meters in size, underscoring the precision of the maneuver-the equivalent of hitting a six-centimeter target in Brazil from Japan.

JAXA scientists reported their joy at the rovers' success. And waiting for the first images that would prove the little rovers were safe was nerve-wracking.

Speaking after the initial rover landings, Yuichi Tsuda, project manager for the Hayabusa2 mission, 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".

"I can not find words to express how happy I am", said Yuichi Tsuda, project manager for the Hayabusa2 mission, in a statement. They will compare the rocks to meteorites and to samples collected by other missions, including NASA's OSIRIS-Rex, which is slated to arrive at the asteroid Bennu in 2020. Hayabusa-2 will deploy a powerful lander Mascot on 3 October that has been developed in partnership with German Aerospace Center and French Space Agency.

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