Japan's Hayabusa 2 mission lands on target asteroid

Japanese Space Rovers Send Dazzling Photos From Asteroid Landing Back to Earth

Since landing, the rovers have sent back photos and data.

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

The JAXA team confirmed on Twitter that both survived the landing, are in good condition and moving on the surface.

JAXA, the Japanese space agency behind the mission, said it was "in awe" of the achievement.

CBS News reports the Hayabusa2 space probe recently arrived to an asteroid known as 162173 Ryugu, where it dropped two landers created to hop around on the surface of the celestial object as it barrels through space, after being launched nearly four years ago. MINERVA-II1 consists of two rovers, 1a & 1b.

The first Hayabusa mission also carried a MINERVA rover, but it did not successfully reach the surface.

Above is the latest shot to be sent back from the Hayabusa probe and it is absolutely incredible. MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout), meanwhile, will tumble rather than fly but can use its camera, infrared spectrometer, magnetometer and radiometer to study the smaller structural details of the asteroid's looser surface material. "This is just a real charm of deep space exploration".

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Work decimalise from YaPONSKOGO Kosmonova probe "Hayabusa-2", 21 September.

Amazingly, one more picture taken amid one of the wanderer's bounces on the space rock surface made the Project MINERVA-II1 group exceptionally cheerful.

Just knowing that two tiny robots are now hopping merrily around an asteroid with nearly no gravity makes our own world seem a little bit merrier.

They were deployed from the main spacecraft Hayabusa2 from a height of 55 metres, before the spacecraft returned to its typical altitude of about 20 kilometers above the surface of the asteroid. The surface of Ryugu is in the lower right.

After waiting for the dust to settle in Ryugu's weak gravity, Hayabusa2 will descend into the newly-formed crater to collect pristine soil samples unaffected by solar radiation and other "weathering" effects.

If all goes well, the Hayabusa2 will return to earth with soil and rock samples in 2020, according to JAXA.

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