Japanese Rovers Land on Asteroid
|Rover Photo of the Asteroid. Source: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency|
Rovers Already Taking Photos
Japan just made history. It's landed 2 hopping rovers on the asteroid Ryugu. The rovers are in good condition and have already started transmitting data and photos, as you can see in the above photo.
The rovers' mobility on the asteroid is historic. NASA landed a spacecraft on an asteroid in 2001 but it was stationary. The rovers are equipped with 7 cameras. They hop around the asteroid which has a low gravity environment. The rovers are the world's 1st, man-made objects to explore movement on the surface of an asteroid.
Asteroids greatly interest scientists researching the history and origins of the universe. Some experts believe they also have tremendous commercial potential for mining valuable metals like platinum. The hopping rovers are part of Japan's MINERVA-ll1 program. A larger rover will be sent to the asteroid Ryugu in October and another tiny hopping rover in 2019.