Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Japan space robots start asteroid survey READ MORE

Japan space robots start asteroid survey READ MORE

And they're doing quite well indeed.

A series of specially designed cameras - four on the first rover and three on the second - will take stereo images of the asteroid's surface.

The space agency confirmed that after the landing, at least one of the two Minerva-II 1 rovers succeeded in jumping to another location on the surface of Ryugu by using an internal motor.

"The two rovers are in good condition and are transmitting images and data", it said in a statement. On September 21, the small compact MINERVA-II1 rovers separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft.

"Moreover, with the image taken during the hop on the asteroid surface, I was able to confirm the effectiveness of this movement mechanism on the small celestial body and see the result of many years of research", said Yoshimitsu.

Hayabusa2 released the Minerva-II 1 rovers toward a point about 140 meters north of Ryugu's equator on Friday afternoon Japan time.

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Weighing some 0.6 metric tons, the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft was launched on December 3, 2014 by JAXA on mission to explore asteroid Ryugu, retrieve materials from it and bring them to Earth. Communication with the two landers stopped of touchdown.

One of the rovers snapped a photo of Ryugu after it was from its mother-ship Hayabusa2 while another took photos showing a blurry image of both Hayabusa2 and Ryugu just as it was approaching the asteroid. And thus we are left with a suspenseful situation. The innovative mission will spend the rest of this year and almost all of 2019 at Ryugu.

The successful landings of the first two rovers "made me so happy", said Takashi Kubota, a spokesman for the project.

This is a daring sample maneuver.

Spectacular photos captured their "hop" onto Ryugu's barren surface.

The cautious announcement came after a similar JAXA probe in 2005 released a rover that failed to reach its target asteroid. Spine-like projections from the edges of the hoppers are sensors that will measure surface temperatures on the asteroid.

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