Hayabusa2 Releases Explorers toward Asteroid Ryugu

Science Society Technology

Sagamihara, Kanagawa Pref., Sept. 21 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft delivered two small robotic explorers toward its target, the asteroid Ryugu, Friday afternoon Japan time, the country's space agency said.

After landing on the asteroid, the Minerva-II 1 explorers will attempt to take photos of its surface in several places to send the data to Hayabusa2, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said.

The explorers will make repeated jumps with motors to move on the surface of the asteroid with one-80,000th of the Earth's gravity.

If successful, it will be the world's first observation of the surface of an asteroid by a moving rover.

In 2005, an earlier version of the Minerva series explorer released from JAXA's original Hayabusa spacecraft failed to land on the asteroid Itokawa due to a problem in the timing of the release.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press