The Japanese probe has successfully sat on an asteroid

Two small rovers from the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft signaled their successful landing on the asteroid Ryugu by sending images back to Earth, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced on September 22.

"We are very hopeful", project manager Yuichi Tsuda said.

The probe will also release a French-German landing vehicle named Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) for surface observation.

The asteroid's low gravity means they can hop across it, capturing temperatures and images of the surface. The first shot sent back can be seen above. "I want to see images of space as seen from the surface of the asteroid", he said.

Scientists will not only collect more samples than during the first Hayabusa mission, they'll have lander data that wasn't available after the first Hayabusa's Minerva robot failed. The main probe could make up to three landings during its mission, JAXA has said.

The round, cookie tin-shaped robots successfully reached the Ryugu asteroid a day after they were released from the Hayabusa2 probe, the agency said. It is a follow-on to the Hayabusa mission that returned 1,500 grams of asteroid Itokawa in 2010.

Once ready, the MINERVA-II1 rovers are expected to explore the surface of the asteroid.

Hayabusa2 was launched atop a Japanese H-2A rocket on December 3, 2014.

An artist's impression of the MINERVA-II1 landers deployed by Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft. This will probably end the mission after Hayabusa2 blasts off towards its last phase that is delivering the sample back to the Earth around late 2022.

The photo discovered by the Japanese asteroid probe Ryugu orbiting the Earth, UFO researcher noticed a unusual image. The event occurred when the mother ship was just a few hundred feet above Ryugu's pockmarked, boulder-strewn surface.

And in late October, Hayabusa-2 will descend to the surface of Ryugu to collect a sample of rock and soil.

"This is a hard mission, but in order for humans to expand from Earth into space, it will be necessary to meet challenges".

  • Joey Payne