"Gravity on the surface of Ryugu is very weak, so a rover propelled by normal wheels or crawlers would float upwards as soon as it started to move", mission team members wrote in a MINERVA-II1 description.
Japan's space agency has landed two rovers on the surface of an asteroid, meaning they've also landed into the history books.
Japan made history after dropping two tiny rovers on the asteroid Ryugu located almost 200 million miles away from Earth On Friday, Sept. 21. We also confirmed they are moving on the surface.
The mission's success - marking the end of a four-year journey - was confirmed in a tweet on Saturday from JAXA's account for the Hayabusa2 asteroid explorer. The image is blurred because the shot was taken while the rover was rotating. According to Advocator, after releasing the robots from the mothership on Friday, the engineers were waiting for the confirmation that the rovers made a safe landing.
The third image released by JAXA was snapped by Rover-1A as it hopped on the surface of its target, offering yet another glimpse of the mysterious object. The spacecraft descended from its station-keeping orbit 20km above a small asteroid down to just 60 meters, and there it deployed two miniature rovers bound for the surface.
The diameter of the Ryuga, which is located between Earth and Mars, about 900 m. the "Hayabusa-2" was launched to the asteroid in December 2014 from the Baikonur cosmodrome on the island of Tanegashima.
"We're glad that the Minerva-II 1 rovers took photos as we had expected", said Tetsuo Yoshimitsu, associate professor at JAXA. Best of all: They've sent back photographs. The left-half is the surface of Ryugu, while the white region on the right is due to sunlight.
"I can not find words to express how happy I am that we were able to realize mobile exploration on the surface of an asteroid". The aim of the mission is to collect samples from the 900-meter-long Ruige asteroid and bring them back to Earth for study.