Published: Sun, September 23, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Two Tiny Hopping Rovers Race Toward Near-Earth Asteroid

Two Tiny Hopping Rovers Race Toward Near-Earth Asteroid

Next month, Hayabusa2 will deploy an "impactor" that will explode above the asteroid, shooting a 2-kg (4-lb.) copper object into the surface to blast a crater a few meters in diameter. It'll be sent to investigate the surface in more detail before the main spacecraft descends to collect a sample, which will eventually be brought back to Earth. JAXA's Hayabusa-2 probe spent years traveling to the asteroid and today, right on schedule, the probe released a pair of incredibly unique rovers to inspect the asteroid.

After a 3.2 billion-kilometer journey, the Hayabusa-2 asteroid-sampling space probe stabilized in June in orbit around Ryugu, a space rock which is now about 280 million kilometers from our planet. Today, those weird little rovers were successfully launched, but now JAXA - along with the rest of the world - is waiting with baited breath: did the probes land successfully, or will this be a repeat of JAXA's last botched attempt in 2005?

Two small robotic rovers were released from the space probe Hayabusa2 towards the asteroid Ryugu, Japan's space agency said Friday. These small rovers hop rather than crawl.

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Because the surface of the asteroid is much smaller than a planet, the robot rovers are created to hop rather than roll along on wheels.

"There are four cameras on Rover-1A and three cameras on Rover-1B". However, due to the rotation Ryuga lost the connection, before I could get any image with the descent to its surface. The rovers are also equipped with temperature gauges, optical sensors as well as an accelerometer and a set of gyroscopes. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) statement reads. "Data received by Hayabusa is then transferred to the Earth". This type of space rocks have darker surface and they constitute 75 percent of all known asteroids. To date, there has been only one soft touchdown on an asteroid, and that was NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous-Shoemaker spacecraft, which landed on the asteroid Eros in 2001.

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