Japan space robots start asteroid survey
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Sept 22, 2018
A pair of robot rovers have landed on an asteroid and begun a survey, Japan's space agency said Saturday, as it conducts a mission aiming to shed light on the origins of the solar system.
The rover mission marks the world's first moving, robotic observation of an asteroid surface, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The round, cookie tin-shaped robots successfully reached the Ryugu asteroid a day after they were released from the Hayabusa2 probe, the agency said.
"Each of the rovers is operating normally and has started surveying Ryugu's surface," JAXA said in a statement.
Taking advantage of the asteroid's low gravity, the rovers will jump around on the surface -- soaring as high as 15 metres (49 feet) and staying in the air for as long as 15 minutes -- to survey the asteroid's physical features.
"I am so proud that we have established a new method of space exploration for small celestial bodies," said JAXA project manager Yuichi Tsuda.
The agency tried but failed in 2005 to land a rover on another asteroid in a similar mission.
Hayabusa2 will next month deploy an "impactor" that will explode above the asteroid, shooting a two-kilo (four-pound) copper object to blast a small crater into the surface.
From this crater, the probe will collect "fresh" materials unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation, hoping for answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from space helped give rise to life on Earth.
The probe will also release a French-German landing vehicle named the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) for surface observation.
Hayabusa2, about the size of a large fridge and equipped with solar panels, is the successor to JAXA's first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa -- Japanese for falcon.
That probe returned from a smaller, potato-shaped, asteroid in 2010 with dust samples despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey and was hailed as a scientific triumph.
The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014 and will return to Earth with its samples in 2020.
Ceres takes life an ice volcano at a time
Tucson AZ (SPX) Sep 18, 2018
Every year throughout its 4.5-billion-year life, ice volcanoes on the dwarf planet Ceres generate enough material on average to fill a movie theater, according to a new study led by the University of Arizona. The study, led by UA planetary scientist Michael Sori, marks the first time a rate of cryovolcanic activity has been calculated from observations, and its findings help solve a mystery about Ceres's missing mountains. Discovered 2015 by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, the 3-mile-tall ice volcan ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.|