On September 21, 2018, the Japanese space agency, JAXA deployed two tiny rovers to the surface of Asteroid Ryugu after being released by the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft. It was a long four year journey to get to this point of the mission.
As a part of the MINERVA II program, the rovers are designed to hop along the surface of the asteroid while gathering data and retrieving images.
The deployment was completed after Hayabusa 2, carefully adjusted to a lower altitude of just about 180 feet above the surface of the asteroid. Then the craft returned to its typical altitude of 12.5 miles above the surface after release.
Hayabusa 2 is scheduled to deploy MASCOT, a large rover, in October, and another tiny rover next year.
For further information on the JAXA Hayabusa 2 mission please visit the following links:
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.