Japanese space robots just landed on an asteroid (and took incredible photos)

A feat years in the making

A feat years in the making

"I was particularly impressed with the images taken from close range on the asteroid surface", said Makoto Yoshikawa, Hayabusa2 Project Mission Manager.

Japan's space probe on Friday released a pair of exploring rovers toward an egg-shaped asteroid to collect mineral samples that may shed light on the origin of the solar system.

If the mission is successful, the rovers will conduct the world's first moving, robotic observation of an asteroid surface.

Japan's space agency said on Saturday the rovers had landed.

Its predecessor, Hayabusa, failed to land a rover on the asteroid Itokawa in 2005.

This morning's maneuver kicks off an ambitious Ryugu surface-exploration campaign for the $150 million Hayabusa2 mission, which launched in December 2014.

'This is just a real charm of deep space exploration'.

JAXA, the Japanese space agency behind the mission, said it was "in awe" of the achievement.

The agency said the round, biscuit tin-shaped robots had successfully landed on the Ryugu asteroid a day after they were released from the Hayabusa2 probe. The color photo was captured by Rover-1A on September 21 around 13:08 JST, immediately after separation from the spacecraft.

"Correspondence with MINERVA-II1 has presently halted", JAXA composed on Twitter.

An artist's impression of the MINERVA-II1 landers deployed by Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft. Since it arrived at Ryugu, scientists have been looking for suitable landing sites on the uneven surface, and its first attempt is expected in October. This should create a small crater and, about two weeks later, allow Hayabusa2 to return and collect a pristine interior sample from the asteroid. And sometime next year, another little hopper, MINERVA-II2, will touch down on Ryugu as well. Hayabusa returned to Earth in 2010.

"This is a hard mission, but in order for humans to expand from Earth into space, it will be necessary to meet challenges".

"I CCB so torosani Tim scho TSI malenic Samohin aparati uspsa docut surface asteroid, that scho mi smogli tsogo Domotica 13 years ago".

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