Japan’s Space Agency Successfully Lands Rovers On Asteroid
I don’t know if anyone noticed, but this website erupted in a nightmare the other day. Stranger Dimensions went down for nearly a full 24 hours.
I’m talking down. I had to use a backup from August 11 to get things running again. Let’s just say it was a fun and enlightening experience, and it’s not exactly over, yet. Just thought I’d bring it up.
Oh, and if any subscribers get an email tomorrow with seven or eight posts inside, that’ll be why.
In other news, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, otherwise known as JAXA, is having a much better time (though no less exciting) than my web host right now, as they’ve successfully landed two rovers on the surface of the asteroid 162173 Ryugu.
According to BBC News, MINERVA-II1 rovers 1A and 1B launched from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft on Friday. Afterwards, they landed on Ryugu, where they’ve been able to collect data and take photos. As they report, this is the “first spacecraft to place robot rovers on the surface of an asteroid.”
This after the long journey of Hayabusa2, which left Earth on December 3, 2014 and arrived at Ryugu on June 27, 2018.
The images shared on the HAYABUSA2@JAXA Twitter account are amazing, indeed, like this one captured by Rover-1A while on the asteroid’s surface:
This dynamic photo was captured by Rover-1A on September 22 at around 11:44 JST. It was taken on Ryugu’s surface during a hop. The left-half is the surface of Ryugu, while the white region on the right is due to sunlight. (Hayabusa2 Project) pic.twitter.com/IQLsFd4gJu
— HAYABUSA2@JAXA (@haya2e_jaxa) September 22, 2018
“The MINERVA-II1 rovers have successfully landed on asteroid Ryugu, snapped photos & taken the first successful hop!”
The rovers won’t just hop around on Ryugu and snap photos, though. They’ll also collect temperature readings. In October, Hayabusa2 itself will gather its own samples from the asteroid.
Eventually, JAXA will blow a crater into Ryugu (not unlike the digital crater blown into my web server two nights ago), unlocking hidden rocks and soils deep within the asteroid, which may tell us more about our universe’s history and the formation of our Solar System.