Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Scientists have published the first video from the surface of the asteroid

Japan landed a rover on an asteroid, and the 1st photos are out of this world New asteroid rover images released
Theresa Hayes | 30 September, 2018, 15:20

"Please take a moment to enjoy the "permanence" of this new world", - said in a statement, JAXA officials published on September 27.

Japan's intrepid, hopping asteroid rovers have sent back footage and high-resolution imagery of the surface of the celestial body they have been exploring, according to tweets from Japan's space agency. They show slightly tilted close-ups of the rocky surface from different locations.

Named MINERVA-II1 (MIcro Nano Experimental Robot Vehicle for Asteroid, the second generation), the pair of rovers were launched from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft after a 300-million-kilometer journey from Earth. It is a 3.3 kg compressed package that consists of two cookie-tin shaped rovers, Rover-1A and Rover-1B, which are now operational on the asteroid surface.

Although JAXA was unable to contact the rovers for a short time after they were sent to the surface, they've been sending photos back to JAXA.

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. He further added, "I was so moved to see these small rovers successfully explore an asteroid surface because we could not achieve this at the time of Hayabusa, 13 years ago".

Asteroids like Ryugu, which orbits between Mars and Earth, are hot research commodities.

JAXA scientists reported their joy at the rovers' success.

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

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.

Later in the mission, scheduled for the end of October, the spacecraft will land on the asteroid after blowing a small crater in it using explosives, so samples that haven't been exposed to space can be gathered from below the object's surface.

The robots will capture colour images of the asteroid and measure temperatures.

That will enable the spacecraft to make brief touch-and-go landings to collect "fresh" samples of materials that have been protected from millennia of wind and radiation and which may offer clues as to the origins of life on Earth.