Japan's Hayabusa2 Spacecraft Successfully Deploys Landers To Asteroid Ryugu's Surface

Rover-1A lands on the asteroid surface right

Although the European Space Agency has managed to land a craft on a comet, this is the first time anyone has been able to land on the surface of an asteroid.

On Saturday, the agency posted that the two exploratory robots Hayabusa2 sent toward Ryugu on Friday are "in good condition" and moving freely on the asteroid's surface.

After the initial landing, the two rovers continue to collect data by hopping across the asteroid and taking photos. Japanese unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 released two small Minerva-II-1 rovers on the asteroid Ryugu on September 21.

"I can not find words to express how happy I am that we were able to realise mobile exploration on the surface of an asteroid", said Yuichi Tsuda, project manager for the Hayabusa2 mission.

The first image that was transmitted by Rover-1A depicts its dizzying deployment from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft rotating.

Beneath their desolate surfaces, asteroids are believed to contain a rich treasure-trove of information about the formation of the solar system billions of years ago. A sensor-packed cube will also be delivered to the surface and eventually the spacecraft itself will land on the asteroid to snag a sample of material which it will then return back to Earth.

Taken immediately after separation from the spacecraft this is Hayabusa2 at the top and the surface of Ryugu is bottom
Image Taken immediately after separation from the spacecraft this is Hayabusa2 at the top and the surface of Ryugu is bottom

"I am proud that Hayabusa2 was able to contribute to the creation of this technology for a new method of space exploration by surface movement on small bodies".

In October, the Hayabusa2 probe will deploy an "impactor" that will explode above the asteroid, shooting a 2kg copper missile to blast a small crater into the surface.

"I can not find words to express how happy I am", project manager Yuichi Tsuda said in a statement after the rovers' safe arrival was confirmed.

The rovers are collectively known as MINERVA-II1, reports CNN.

"I felt awed by what we had achieved in Japan".

Aside from looking like an action shot from a deep-space horror movie, the image has plenty of details that are worth appreciating.

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