Japan releases rovers towards asteroid

Hayabusa 2 test drops

Japan confirmed it successfully landed two small rovers released from its Hayabusa 2 probe on the surface of an asteroid.

Japan now has two rovers on an asteroid 280 million kilometres from Earth, and they've started sending back the first pictures of life on a very lonely rock.

As JAXA notes, MINERVA-II1 "is the world's first rover (mobile exploration robot) to land on the surface of an asteroid".

They were released from Hayabusa2 early Friday (U.S. time) at an altitude of 180 feet or so above Ryugu.

Hayabusa2 is all set to attempt three brief touch-and-go landings on the asteroid to collect samples in hopes of providing clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth. It's a little blurry - mainly because the rover was spinning when it took the shot.

The landers were developed by JAXA, the Japanese space agency, and the University of Aizu. "Analysis of this information confirmed that at least one of the rovers..."

The rovers hop across the surface, because the gravity on the Ryugu asteroid makes it impossible for them to roll.

The probe's predecessor Hayabusa, named after the Japanese word for peregrine falcon, arrived at the Itokawa asteroid in 2005 to conduct scientific observations but its Minerva explorer failed to reach the surface.

The diameter of the Ryuga, which is located between Earth and Mars, about 900 m. the "Hayabusa-2" was launched to the asteroid in December 2014 from the Baikonur cosmodrome on the island of Tanegashima.

The rovers are also to perform functions such as measuring the surface temperature on the asteroid ahead of the planned landing of the probe on the asteroid in late October.

Later, a tool-packed cube called MASCOT will be sent down to the asteroid to relay a wealth of readings back to JAXA.

To obtain sub-surface samples, Hayabusa2 fill release a five-and-a-half-pound impactor loaded with HMX plastic explosive created to blast out a crater in the surface.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Oil prices surge as Saudis, Russia won't open spigots
Sep 26, 2018 - 13:51
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $72.27 a barrel, up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last settlement. The official further said the USA could tap into its own strategic reserves to compensate for the missing Iranian oil volumes.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top China Says Can't Hold US Trade Talks With "Knife To The Throat"
Sep 26, 2018 - 12:09
The US had invited Chinese trade negotiators to Washington to resume talks earlier this month. The price rise is notably caused by a recent drop in Iran's supply because of US sanctions .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Van Dijk faces fitness test ahead of Chelsea clash
Sep 26, 2018 - 11:37
We will try and suggest how to be more effective on the pitch, and he will benefit from the way we try to play. Klopp said Chelsea are realistic title contenders and is surprised they are not being tipped more widely.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee hits out at 'character assassination'
Sep 26, 2018 - 06:41
After all, this is the same brand of comedy that brought us Kathy Griffin and her oh-how-humorous bloody Donald Trump head. Delaying Kavanaugh's confirmation could allow time for doubts about him to take root or any fresh accusations to emerge.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Alibaba's Ma: 1 mil. USA jobs pledge thwarted by trade row
Sep 26, 2018 - 06:05
The Trump administration announced a finalized list of $200 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods September 17. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about two weeks ago, according to a report by Yahoo Finance on Friday.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Iran vows REVENGE against USA and Israel over deadly military parade attack
Sep 25, 2018 - 03:24
He also said US sanctions against Iran were illegal and President Donald Trump was using them as a tool for "personal revenge". A general view shows an attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran , in this September 22, 2018 photo by ISNA.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Milner pokes fun at Salah's Puskas Award win
Sep 25, 2018 - 03:09
Mohamed Salah wins the FIFA Puskas award for his goal against Everton at Anfield last season. Messi could only finish fifth with 9.81% behind Kylian Mbappe (10.52%).

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tiger Woods ‘proud’ of season as he eyes $10M FedEx Cup bonus
Sep 25, 2018 - 02:33
On the 590-yard par-5 18th hole, DeChambeau reached the green in 3 and sunk a 5-foot putt for birdie. Another tournament, another share of the first-round lead for Tiger Woods .

Russian Federation boosts Syrian air defense after plane shot down
Sep 25, 2018 - 00:08
Putin says "a chain of tragic circumstances" is to be blamed for a Russian military aircraft shot down by a Syrian missile. According to the Syrian president's office, Putin told Assad the blame for the plane incident lay squarely with Israel.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Andrea Constand Is Set To Deliver Impactful Statement At Bill Cosby Sentencing
Sep 24, 2018 - 21:13
When the first trial ended in a deadlock in June 2017, the defense attacked the judge and prosecutor from the courthouse steps. Attorney, Gloria Allred , centre, with her clients aned Bill Cosby accusers, Chelan Lasha , left and Lise-Lotte Lublin.

Iran says oil to rise as Saudi, Russia do 'little and late'
Sep 24, 2018 - 20:55
Crude oil price curves are now in backwardation, with front-month contracts more expensive that later-dated futures. Mr Trump called on the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries ( OPEC ) to lower prices .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Dallas Police Department Fires Cop Who Shot Neighbor
Sep 24, 2018 - 20:54
When she put her key in the apartment door, which was unlocked and slightly ajar, it opened, the affidavit said. Guyger was arrested last week on manslaughter charges, weeks after she shot Jean in his own apartment.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Golf Fans Rejoice As Tiger Woods Ends Drought, Wins Tour Championship
Sep 24, 2018 - 20:10
The win is the culmination of an impressive comeback season for Woods, who looks to be a threat at the majors again in 2019 . He won even if he did not quite win the FedEx Cup, the four-tournament aggregate event that went to Rose.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Sarri: I don’t know why West Ham lost four matches
Sep 24, 2018 - 19:32
That's why I was a bit frustrated and disappointed to be substituted, but the coach made his choice and you have to respect it. West Ham have improved in recent weeks, after picking up four points from their last two games.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly resigns
Sep 24, 2018 - 19:15
But let me clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment". Either way, Rosenstein is out of a job, which could jeopardise the Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.