STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Japan's Hayabusa asteroid rovers send back first footage

Japan's intrepid, hopping asteroid rovers have sent back footage and high-resolution imagery of the surface ...

Posted: Sep 28, 2018 12:34 PM
Updated: Sep 28, 2018 12:34 PM

Japan's intrepid, hopping asteroid rovers have sent back footage and high-resolution imagery of the surface of the celestial body they have been exploring, according to tweets from Japan's space agency.

In a series of six tweets, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) showed the first images taken by the two rovers -- including a 15-frame video -- from the surface of Ryugu, a kilometer-wide asteroid that has been visited by the agency's Hayabusa spacecraft.

Asia

Asteroids and comets

Continents and regions

East Asia

Japan

Space and astronomy

Space exploration

"Rover-1B succeeded in shooting a movie on Ryugu's surface! The movie has 15 frames captured on September 23, 2018 from 10:34 - 11:48 JST. Enjoy 'standing' on the surface of this asteroid!"

A series of specially designed cameras -- four on the first rover and three on the second -- are taking stereo images of the asteroid's surface. The rovers are also equipped with temperature gauges and optical sensors as well as an accelerometer and a set of gyroscopes.

JAXA also released a high-res photo of the asteroid's surface taken as Hayabusa descended to the surface to unload Rover-1A and 1-B.

The agency also posted photos on its official Hayabusa-2 website which showed the location of the image snapped by Hayabusa on the asteroid's surface.

Hopping robots

Unlike NASA's Curiosity Rover on Mars, which has six wheels, the 1kg autonomous Ryugu rovers move about by hopping.

"Gravity on the surface of Ryugu is very weak, so a rover propelled by normal wheels or crawlers would float upwards as soon as it started to move," JAXA scientists explained.

"Therefore, this hopping mechanism was adopted for moving across the surface of such small celestial bodies. The rover is expected to remain in the air for up to 15 minutes after a single hop before landing, and to move up to 15 m (50 feet) horizontally."

Some of the JAXA tweets confirmed that the rovers had successfully hopped since landing on the surface.

The imagery -- the first taken from rovers from an asteroid -- shows a rocky landscape against the backdrop of space.

The agency made history on Sunday by successfully landing the two unmanned rovers on Ryugu.

A third rover called MASCOT will be launched from Hayabusa-2 in early October.

Material to be collected

Later in the mission, scheduled for the end of October, the spacecraft will land on the asteroid after blowing a small crater in it using explosives, so samples that haven't been exposed to space can be gathered from below the object's surface.

After examining the far distant object and taking samples, Hayabusa-2 will depart Ryugu in December 2019 before returning to Earth by the end of 2020 with its cargo of samples.

If successful, JAXA has said it will be the "world's first sample return mission to a C-type asteroid."

Japanese scientists are racing NASA for that achievement, with the US agency's sample retrieval mission due to arrive back on Earth in 2023.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 27900

Reported Deaths: 1082
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds215239
DeSoto137316
Madison122234
Jones106949
Neshoba96069
Lauderdale88278
Rankin84112
Forrest81442
Scott75015
Harrison7448
Copiah56615
Leake54819
Jackson53316
Holmes52741
Wayne52112
Washington4969
Lee49316
Oktibbeha48624
Yazoo4736
Leflore47249
Lowndes45311
Warren44317
Lincoln43534
Lamar4197
Grenada3805
Monroe36729
Pike36712
Attala35223
Lafayette3524
Newton3289
Sunflower3066
Covington3025
Bolivar27713
Panola2706
Adams26718
Chickasaw25918
Tate2577
Jasper2506
Marion24811
Pontotoc2476
Noxubee2458
Pearl River24432
Winston2435
Clay24210
Claiborne23610
Simpson2303
Smith20611
Clarke20124
Marshall2013
Coahoma1866
Kemper17614
Union1759
Walthall1724
Yalobusha1617
Carroll16011
Lawrence1591
Itawamba1278
Calhoun1244
Humphreys1239
Tippah12311
Webster12310
Montgomery1222
Hancock12013
Jefferson Davis1064
Tallahatchie1043
Prentiss983
Greene927
Jefferson923
Wilkinson919
Tunica893
Amite822
George743
Choctaw714
Quitman680
Tishomingo681
Perry614
Alcorn561
Stone521
Franklin382
Benton270
Sharkey240
Issaquena71
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 39604

Reported Deaths: 961
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4387142
Montgomery383999
Mobile3697134
Tuscaloosa204938
Marshall153710
Lee118937
Shelby108223
Madison10577
Morgan9813
Walker86723
Franklin85213
Dallas8198
Elmore81314
Baldwin6869
Etowah62513
Butler60427
DeKalb6025
Chambers58127
Tallapoosa56369
Autauga54511
Unassigned52025
Russell4840
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4446
Houston4344
Limestone4090
Cullman4003
Pike3995
Colbert3685
Bullock3629
Coffee3532
Barbour3231
Covington3087
St. Clair3042
Hale29321
Marengo28611
Wilcox2808
Sumter27612
Calhoun2705
Talladega2677
Clarke2665
Escambia2636
Dale2440
Jackson2382
Winston2333
Blount2141
Chilton2112
Pickens2116
Marion20312
Monroe1972
Choctaw19212
Conecuh1804
Bibb1711
Macon1708
Randolph1709
Greene1667
Perry1451
Henry1303
Crenshaw1233
Lawrence1010
Washington1007
Cherokee747
Lamar711
Fayette671
Geneva670
Clay582
Coosa551
Cleburne291
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 95°
Columbus
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 85°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 97°
Starkville
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 85°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather