Ground-breaking Japanese space rover sends video of sun seen from asteroid’s surface

The Japanese space agency JAXA made history last week by becoming the first to land a rover on an asteroid. It has now released a video taken from the asteroid’s surface showing the sun moving across the sky.

The rovers were in good condition as they landed and began transmitting images and data.  “The good news made me so happy. From the surface of Ryugu, MINERVA-II1 sent a radio signal to the Earth via Hayabusa2 S/C. The image taken by MINERVA-II1 during a hop allowed me to relax as a dream of many years came true. I felt awed by what we had achieved in Japan. This is just a real charm of deep space exploration,” Takashi Kubota, Spokesperson for the Hayabusa2 Project said of the successful rover landingHayabusa2, launched in December 2014, will attempt next month to collect samples from the asteroid and carry them back to Earth for scientists to study. It is believed studying the composition of asteroids can provide information about the formation of the solar system billions of years ago.

Discovered in 1999, Ryugu is a 1-km wide, diamond-shaped asteroid situated 186 million miles from Earth. According to JAXA, it was chosen as the subject of the Hayabusa2 mission because it is “rich in water and organic materials,” which allows scientists to “clarify interactions between the building blocks of Earth and the evolution of its oceans and life, thereby developing solar system science.”

It was named Ryugu after Ryūgū (Dragon Palace), a magical underwater palace in a Japanese folktale. The story tells of a fisherman who travels to the palace on the back of a turtle and returns carrying a mysterious box.

Source: JAXA

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