TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Our Mission Manager, Makoto Yoshikawa, has been chosen by the science journal, Nature, as one of the “ten people who mattered in science this year” in “The 2018 Nature’s 10”.
Hayabusa2 Status (2019.1.1 – 6)
Jan. 10, 2019
Our first Hayabusa2 operation of the year was carried out on 1/4. Based on observational data collected during the solar conjunction, we had recalculated the orbit of Ryugu. This recalculated orbit was used after returning from solar conjunction to resume the home position at an altitude of 20km above the asteroid surface. We were able to confirm that using this new orbit allows us to more stably maintain the home position.
Hayabusa2 status (2018.12.24 – 31)
Jan. 04, 2019
This week, Hayabusa2 returned perfectly from solar conjunction to hover back at the home position at 20km from the asteroid. Although this situation was similar to when we approached the asteroid in June, it was a tense operation as there was no room for mistakes.
However, the spacecraft was able to return to its orbit exactly as planned. New Year’s Eve on the 31st December was the last operation of the year. The distance to the asteroid could be measured once again with LIDAR and we returned to normal operations without any problems. The beginning of the New Year is a holiday in Japan, but full-scale operations will begin with adjustments for the 2019 touchdown operation.
The names for topographic features on Ryugu’s surface have been decided. The theme is “Names that appear in stories for children”, in keeping with Ryugu. On the map, yellow indicates an official name recognised by the International Astronomical Union while orange is a nickname. pic.twitter.com/vT7OBaXhwb
— HAYABUSA2@JAXA (@haya2e_jaxa) January 9, 2019
Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft spent the last several weeks rehearsing for a landing on asteroid Ryugu scheduled for early next year. JAXA’s status reports for the last three weeks are reproduced below.
— HAYABUSA2@JAXA (@haya2e_jaxa) October 26, 2018
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — During the second touchdown rehearsal (TD1-R1-A), we captured a sequential set of images as the spacecraft reached the point of lowest altitude and then began to rise. The spacecraft reached the lowest altitude of 22.3m above the surface of Ryugu on October 15, 2018 at 22:44 JST. [Editor’s Note: Hayabusa2 has completed three landing rehearsals.]
The most promising candidate site for touchdown is L08-B and is also captured in these images (Figure 2). As you can see in Figure 2 and Figure 1, there are not any large boulders in L08-B, but there is a big cliff-like boulder in the upper right of Figure 2 so care is still needed.
In the future, these images obtained during the rehearsals will be analyzed in more detail to aim for a safe touchdown.
If you enlarge the shadow of the probe shown in Figure 2, you will see the following figure. The gap between the panels of the solar paddle is easily visible, as is the shape of the spacecraft and the two star trackers.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — On the basis of the recent observations and operations in the vicinity of asteroid Ryugu by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, the project team have decided to postpone the touchdown (TD) from the end of October this year (2018) to after January next year.
COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — It was a day full of exciting moments and a happy team of scientists and engineers: late in the afternoon of 3 October 2018, the German-French lander MASCOT completed its historic exploration of the surface of the asteroid Ryugu at 21:04 CEST, as its battery ran out.
On-asteroid operations were originally scheduled to last 16 hours after separation from the Japanese mothercraft Hayabusa2. But in the end, the battery lasted more than 17 hours.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The small asteroid lander, MASCOT, that was developed in Germany and France, was successfully separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft on October 3 and delivered safely to the surface of Ryugu. After landing, MASCOT acquired scientific data on the asteroid surface, which was transmitted to the MASCOT team via the spacecraft. Scientific analysis of this data is expected to be performed by the MASCOT team from now onwards.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) is the asteroid lander jointly developed by DLR (German Aerospace Center) and CNES (French National Center for Space Studies). MASCOT is stored on the -Y-plane side of Hayabusa2 (this is the left-hand side surface when the high gain antenna is at the head and the ion engine is at the spacecraft back) and deployed from this position (see Figure 1).
COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, located approximately 300 million kilometres from Earth, has a new inhabitant: On 3 October 2018, the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) landed on the asteroid and began to work.
The lander successfully separated from the Japanese Hayabusa2 space probe at 03:58 CEST. The 16 hours in which the lander will conduct measurements on the asteroid’s surface have begun for the international team of engineers and scientists.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — When Hayabusa2 descended towards Ryugu for the MINERVA-II1 deployment operation, the ONC-T (Optical Navigation Camera – Telescopic) captured images at the highest resolution to date.
This next figure shows the location of Figure 1 on Ryugu.
Highest resolution image obtained by Hayabusa
Rover-1B successfully shot a movie. 15 frames captured on September 23, 2018 from 10:34 – 11:48 JST. (Credit: JAXA)
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The MINERVA-II1 rovers were deployed on September 21 to explore the surface of asteroid Ryugu. Here is the second report on their activities, following our preliminary article at the start of this week. Above is a video taken by one of the rovers that shows the Sun moving across the sky as seen from the surface of Ryugu. Please take a moment to enjoy “standing” on this new world.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — On September 21, the small compact MINERVA-II1 rovers separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft (time of separation was 13:06 JST). The MINERVA-II1 consists of two rovers, Rover-1A and Rover-1B. We have confirmed both rovers landed on the surface of asteroid Ryugu. The two rovers are in good condition and are transmitting images and data. Analysis of this information confirmed that at least one of the rovers is moving on the asteroid surface.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Landing Site Selection (LSS) conference was held on August 17, 2018 and the candidate landing locations for touchdown, MASCOT and MINERVA-II-1 on the surface asteroid Ryugu were decided. In this article, we introduce the landing candidate spots and the planned dates for these surface operations, along with details of the selection.
COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — In early October 2018, the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) lander is expected to be in operation for approximately 16 hours on the Ryugu asteroid. The selection of the landing site will take place this August. The ideal site must firstly offer the MASCOT team engineers excellent conditions for a safe landing and stable operation on the asteroid, while providing the researchers with a wealth of new and productive measurements.