Japanese probe “Hayabusa-2” marooned on an asteroid Ryugu two Rover

Japanese spacecraft “Hayabusa-2” to clear the two small cylindrical Rover MINERVA-MINERVA and II1A-II1B on the surface of a 900-foot asteroid the Ryuga, which was reached in June of this year. The probe approached the surface of an object to a height of about 55 meters and made a landing Rover, which will study the structural and chemical characteristics of the asteroid.

Both the compact machine size 18 x 7 cm and weighs only 1.1 pounds features a variety of scientific equipment, which has temperature and optical sensors, as well as a total of 7 cameras on each. Team mission “Hayabusa-2” calls them Rovers, but on the surface of the asteroid they will move in an interesting way – not the way it is, for example, does the Mars Rover “Curiosity” on the Martian surface using the wheeled base. An interesting feature of MINERVA-MINERVA and II1A-II1B is that vehicles will travel on the surface of the asteroid by jumping, using a low level of gravity Ryugu. To do this, each of the devices mounted in a special asymmetric rotating flywheel. The next time the back the device will jump.

“The gravity on Ryugu is very weak, therefore, when using conventional wheels or stepper systems the movement of the machine began to sail as soon as the movement began. So to move on the surface of the Ryugu we decided to use a hopping mechanism. After another jump, Rover will be on the surface for 15 minutes and then moving 15 meters, and then landed,” — commented the feature of moving devices team mission “Hayabusa-2”.

All of the action for moving Rovers will perform in standalone mode, independently determining where to go next, according to the Japanese space Agency.

Japanese probe “Hayabusa-2” this image was made on 21 September 2018 in the time of the landing of two small Rovers, MINERVA-II1 to the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. The photo shows the shadow of the spacecraft “Hayabusa-2”

In early October, with the main unit “Hayabusa-2” is planned to carry out the landing of another device – the MASCOT lander developed by the German aerospace center (DLR). The landing module is already selected. In the same year, “Hayabusa-2” will descend on Ryugu another Rover — MINERVA-II2. In addition, next year it is planned to start operations to collect samples of the asteroid. To do this, “Hayabusa-2” will shoot in Ryugu small bursting shell, and then gather up from the surface of soil particles, which are then sent and dropped on the Ground in 2020.

Note that the mission “Hayabusa-2” is not the only project related to the study of asteroids in the vicinity of the target. Space probe OSIRIS-REx, the American space Agency NASA is currently moving at full speed to 500 meter asteroid Bennu. The device will arrive at the asteroid on December 3 and is a constant orbit around him on December 31.

If all goes according to plan, OSIRIS-Rex will collect samples of Bennu in the middle of 2020 and will go home with them. When they reached the Land in 2023, OSIRIS-Rex will drop the samples in special protective containers equipped with a parachute system.

To discuss the progress of the Japanese space mission “Hayabusa-2” is possible also in our Telegram chat.

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