Published: Sun, September 30, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

"Enjoy 'Standing' On The Surface Of This Asteroid!" Via New Video


Two MINERVA-II1 rovers were deployed explore the surface of asteroid Ryugu as it hurtles through space as part of a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission.

"Please take a moment to enjoy "standing" on this new world," JAXA (Japan's space agency) officials said in a statement.

"We were able to confirm that Rover-1B hopped!"

The video is a cut of 15 images that the Rover did on the 23rd of September.

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

Japan space agency scientists and engineers are thrilled after landing two jumping robotic rovers on the asteroid about 280 million kilometres away
APJapan space agency scientists and engineers are thrilled after landing two jumping robotic rovers on the asteroid about 280 million kilometres away

"I can not find words to express how happy I am", project manager Yuichi Tsuda said in a statement after the rovers' safe arrival was confirmed. The team will then welcome a final member, a third rover from MINERVA-II, next summer. Announcing the landing on Twitter on September 22, 2018, JAXA scientists tweeted that both rovers were in good condition and were transmitting photos and data.

MINERVA stands for Micro Nano Experimental Robot Vehicle for Asteroid. Now that they're operational, the two will spend their time investigating Ryugu's surface for clues about its formation, evolution and ultimately the state of our early solar system.

The gravity on the surface of asteroids like Ryugu is very weak.

Moving robots on the surface of cosmic bodies on special "pins" that allow them to jump on Ryugu. Having sent back multiple still images via their wide-angle and stereo cameras, Minerva-II1B has now sent back the first video of the mission. The container was launched from the spacecraft Hayabusa2 last week and that spacecraft is now orbiting the asteroid. Next year, Hayabusa2 will land on the surface of the asteroid to gather samples and bring them to Earth in 2020. This will help the spacecraft collect fresh samples of materials embedded within the asteroid's surface. Developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in cooperation with the French Space Agency (CNES) MASCOT has enough power for a 12-hour mission, in which it will analyse the asteroid's surface at two different sites.

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