Hayabusa2 probe releases two rovers over Ryugu asteroid

The robots took this

The agency called JAXA, confirmed the successful landing Saturday and posted photos taken by the little landers online. They were deployed from Hayabusa 2's MINERVA-II-1 container at about 00:06 EDT, September 21 at an altitude of approximately 180 feet (55 meters) above Ryugu.

"The two rovers are in good condition and are transmitting images and data", it said in a statement.

Taking advantage of the asteroid's low gravity, the rovers will jump around on the surface - soaring as high as 15 metres and staying in the air for as long as 15 minutes - to survey the asteroid's physical features.

Japan's space probe on Friday released a pair of exploring rovers toward an egg-shaped asteroid to collect mineral samples that may shed light on the origin of the solar system.

The first-ever landing by a roving explorer on an asteroid means redemption for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, which failed on a similar mission in 2005.

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The rovers maneuver by hopping and will send back data about the asteroid using cameras and instruments, including temperature and optical sensors.

The agency said the round, biscuit tin-shaped robots had successfully landed on the Ryugu asteroid a day after they were released from the Hayabusa2 probe.

"I am so proud that we have established a new method of space exploration for small celestial bodies", said JAXA's project manager, Yuichi Tsuda.

While the first images were less than awe-inspiring, successive shots show a craggy, pitted surface fit for a Hollywood blockbuster.

"We confirmed that both aircraft landed on the surface of the asteroid ryugu". It arrived at Ryugu on June 27, 2018 and is scheduled to depart from the asteroid in December 2019 in order to return to our planet in December 2020. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate.

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