Japanese probe Hayabusa2 got the first images of the asteroid “Ryugu”

Japanese Hayabusa2 space probe is approaching its target, asteroid 1999 JU3 (“Ryugu”). On this occasion the machine made at the moment the best photos of this space object. The probe, launched late December 2014, should get close to 900-foot asteroid roughly 27 June. After this he dropped on the surface of the object to three of the Rover and lander. Small “a scientific landing” will be engaged in the study of the surface of the asteroid and collect samples.

Japanese probe Hayabusa2 received these images of the asteroid “Ryugu” from 17 to 18 June 2018. On the surface of the object visible large craters, according to scientists, with a diameter of about 200 meters. The asteroid rotates perpendicular to its orbit, and completes one full rotation on its axis every 7.5 hours. The above images were smoothed, and the light and dark regions are more highlighted

Thanks to the rapprochement with the object world can see the asteroid “Ryugu” under previously unseen angle. The asteroid is covered in dents and craters and has a retrograde rotation. According to the latest data, the object has angular shape and makes a complete revolution around itself perpendicular to its orbit every 7.5 hours.

The record spins “Ryugu” from the probe Hayabusa2 on 14 and 15 June 2018

“I was surprised when I saw the image and realized that the “Ryugu” the shape is very close to the asteroid “Bennu”, the study of which will be addressed within the framework of a space mission OSIRIS-Rex and the asteroid 2008 EV5, which was suggested to explore, in the framework of the mission MarcoPolo-R a European space Agency”, — said the head of the mission Hayabusa2 Makoto’s Yoshikawa from the Japanese space Agency (JAXA).

“The asteroid “Bennu”, and 2008 EV5 are smaller and rotate faster “Ryugu”, but they have a similar chemical composition. That is, we have to face the similarities and differences which eventually led to the formation of similar form, which possess all of these objects. I would like to know, why?” said’s Yoshikawa.

“Usually all the investigated asteroids have different shapes. “Ryugu” and “Benn” could be first examined by the asteroids with a similar shape. It will be interesting to see what this similarity means, from a scientific point of view,” he added.

Images of asteroid “Ryugu” received June 17-18 2018, when the Hayabusa2 probe was at a distance of 330-240 kilometers from the surface of the object

Upon arrival to the asteroid space probe Hayabusa2 will be located in orbit around the “Ryugu” at an altitude of only 20 kilometers, then during the period of September to July following the probe dropped on the surface of the object, the lander and Rover.

In addition, we plan to shoot the surface of the asteroid special bursting shell, creating a small artificial crater and gathered up from the surface soil samples. Having collected all necessary, Hayabusa2 will go back to Earth, where it will arrive closer to the end of 2020.

At the moment, the main task of scientists involved in the management of this mission is accurate mapping of the surface of the asteroid, so that later you can choose the most ideal place to land the lander and Rovers.

“If the axis of rotation “Ryugu” is closer to the vertical direction in this image, for us it will be a great advantage because we can figure out the whole image of the asteroid at an early stage after arrival of the probe. This will greatly simplify our planning,” said’s Yoshikawa.

“At the same time, it is likely that potential sites for planting may be limited to the Equatorial region “Ryugu”. I hope that we will be able to choose the most ideal and successfully landed there, the lander and Rover.”

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