Japanese space agency releases stunning images taken from surface of an asteroid

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 27 September 2018 18:31
Comments
Japanese space agency releases stunning images taken from surface of an asteroid

The Japanese space agency has released stunning new pictures taken by a rover standing on top an asteroid.

The images, sent down from the surface of the asteroid Ryugu, show the rock in amazing and eerie detail. They were sent back over a distance of around 180 million miles.

They come after the space agency successfully landed two rovers on the asteroid, dropping them from a spacecraft floating just above the surface.

(Jaxa

The rovers dropped down onto the asteroid by the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft are the first mobile exploration robots ever to land on an asteroid's surface. The images they are sending back are the first time that anything has ever autonomously moved and taken pictures themselves on asteroid, too.

One of the pictures includes the shadow of the antenna and pin of the rover itself.​ The pin – which is the long line that can be seen sticking out of the rover – helps increase friction when they engage in the hops that they use to jump around the surface, among other purposes.

(Jaxa

Jaxa, the Japanese space agency, says that both of the rovers are "in good condition and are transmitting images and data". The pictures they are sending back have confirmed that they are moving themselves around the asteroid's surface.

The rovers will spend their time exploring the planet's surface by being joined by yet another visitor, called Mascot, built by scientists in Germany and France, that will further explore the surface.

The new pictures are the second batch to be sent down by the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft. The first were taken as the two rovers tumbled to the surface, and show their whirling motion as they fall.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in