Hayabusa-2: Japan's rovers ready for touchdown on asteroid

Japan Becomes First Country To Land On An Asteroid As TIE-Fighter-Shaped Hyabusa2 Space Probe Unleashes Tiny Rovers Onto Ryugu In Historic First

The spacecraft arrived near the asteroid, about 170 million miles from Earth, in June.

The explorers will make repeated jumps with motors to move on the surface of the asteroid with one-80,000th of the Earth's gravity.

The probes were released from the "mothership" Hayabusa-2 spacecraft and, if all went as planned, they would have drifted down to touch down on the asteroid's dusty surface.

The release of Hayabusa 2's MINERVA-II-1 rovers occurred at 9:06 p.m. PT Thursday, mission controllers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency reported in a tweet. Each hop lasts 15 minutes.

Two small hopping robot began the historic descent on a large asteroid in deep space.

Unfortunately, JAXA engineers will need to wait a couple of days to receive confirmation that the rovers are ready to perform their scientific duties. "We don't have confirmation yet, but we are very, very hopeful", Yuichi Tsuda, JAXA project manager, told reporters.

"We are now working to confirm if there are images capturing the MINERVA-II1 landing". "I'm excited about seeing the pictures". This type of space rocks have darker surface and they constitute 75 percent of all known asteroids.

49ers fear Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL
Jimmy Garoppolo left late in the fourth quarter after his left knee buckled during a scramble to the sideline. It will be interesting to monitor whether or not Goodwin is limited at all, but I'd expect him to be full go.

Shortly after the launch, the agency's Twitter account for the lander wrote: Breathtaking... just breathtaking, don't you think?

The two MINERVA-II1 rovers, dubbed ROVER-1A and ROVER-1B, will collect sampling data and strive to answer probing questions about the universe. You're on your way to #Ryugu ... and I'm next!

We are now working to confirm if there are images capturing the MINERVA-II1 landing.

JAXA tried to launch a probe in 2005, but it failed to land on its target asteroid.

After successfully deploying the first two of its three rovers, the small robots will take readings and conduct experiments.

The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014 and will return to Earth with its samples in 2020.

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