Scientists have just made history by landing the world’s first unmanned drones on an asteroid.
On September 21st, researchers from Japanese space agency JAXA successfully deployed and landed two rovers on the surface of the Ryugu asteroid.
The two robots are now transmitting pictures and information of their surroundings as “the world’s first man-made object to explore movement on an asteroid’s surface.”
The robots, named Rover-1A and Rover-1B are both collectively known as Minerva-II1.
The first image that was transmitted by Rover-1A depicts its dizzying deployment from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft rotating. In the bottom left corner of the image, you can see the surface of the Ryugu asteroid.
The second photo that was released by JAXA shows Rover-1B’s immediate deployment from the spacecraft.
The third photo was taken while Rover-1A was hopping around the surface of the 1-kilometer-wide space rock.
Scientists believe that asteroids contain a treasure trove of information about the solar system’s evolution and history. The two drones will be collecting samples and data from above and below the surface of Ryugu until their scheduled return to Earth in 2020.
“I cannot find words to express how happy I am that we were able to realize mobile exploration on the surface of an asteroid,” said Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 project manager. “I am proud that Hayabusa2 was able to contribute to the creation of this technology for a new method of space exploration by surface movement on small bodies.”
Takashi Kubota, spokesperson for the Hayabusa2 project, added: “The good news made me so happy.
“The image taken by MINERVA-II1 during a hop allowed me to relax as a dream of many years came true. I felt awed by what we had achieved in Japan. This is just a real charm of deep space exploration.”
This News Is Out-Of-This-World: So Be Sure And Share It With Your Friends – Photos by JAXA