Japanese rovers shares incredible photos of rocky asteroid Ryugu

Madhuri Adnal

Washington, Sep 30: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency posted the latest photos on its website that shows slightly tilted close-ups of the rocky surface from different locations of rocky asteroid Ryugu.

Incredible images from the rovers on asteroid Ryugu:

Ryugu is a space rock with a diameter of less than a mile (about 1 km) and classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid, with an orbit that occasionally brings it into Earth's vicinity. The encounter and release of the small rovers occurred early on September 21 at a distance of 194 million miles (313 million km) from Earth.

JAXA successfully landed two rovers on asteroid Ryugu

The spacecraft traveled for four years before encountering Ryugu. The images on this page have been released over the past week by JAXA, some taken by the rovers as they were ejected from the mother spacecraft, and others captured as one of the probes bounced or hopped on the asteroid's surface.

Data from an asteroid Ryugu:

The various data gathered at Ryugu, and analyses of the returned sample, should help researchers better understand the early solar system and the role that carbon-rich rocks like Ryugu may have played in helping life get started on Earth, mission officials have said.

Also Read | Mystery behind solar system's origin: Japan's space probe reaches Ryugu asteroid

Japan to launch third rover:

On October 3, the spacecraft is set to release a German-French lander called MASCOT carrying four observation devices in early October and a bigger rover called Minerva-II-2 next year. Hayabusa2, launched in December 2014, is due to return to Earth in late 2020.

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft was launched on 2014, and arrived at the huge asteroid after travelling some 2,000 million miles (3,200 million km). The spacecraft will be studying Ryugu until December, 2019, when it is expected to start traveling back to Earth with collected samples from the asteroid surface, to be analyzed by scientists in laboratories.

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