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Hayabusa2 team sets date for sample collection, considers two touchdown sites

Jason Davis • January 16, 2019

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft will try to collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu during the week of 18 February, mission officials said during a press briefing last week.

Hayabusa2 prepares for holiday break as Sun passes between Earth and asteroid Ryugu

Jason Davis • November 15, 2018

The spacecraft will spend the end of 2018 a safe distance from Ryugu, as the Sun's position makes communications with Earth spotty.

Collecting a sample from asteroid Ryugu is going to be dicey

Jason Davis • October 19, 2018

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft was scheduled to touch down on Ryugu later this month, but that has been delayed to early 2019.

Heiligenschein Throughout the Solar System

Brittney Cooper • October 16, 2018

When planetary scientist Brittney Cooper was scrolling through the downlinked images of Hayabusa2’s approach of asteroid Ryugu, a familiar sight caught her attention.

MASCOT landing on Ryugu a success

Emily Lakdawalla • October 05, 2018

For 17 hours on 3 October, the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) lander sent data to the waiting Hayabusa2 orbiter from multiple locations on Ryugu.

Japan's asteroid hoppers deliver new batch of incredible images

Jason Davis • September 27, 2018

Pics of Ryugu's surface show loose piles of gravel strewn with larger rocks and boulders.

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft successfully drops rovers on asteroid Ryugu

Jason Davis • September 22, 2018

The two small spacecraft are the size and shape of cheese wheels, and can autonomously hop around the surface.

Hayabusa2 stops short of close approach on first touchdown rehearsal

Emily Lakdawalla • September 13, 2018

Hayabusa2 didn’t quite make it down to its intended 60-meter distance from asteroid Ryugu yesterday. There is nothing wrong with the spacecraft; it’s healthy and returning to its home position. The team will adjust parameters and give it another try in the future.

Hayabusa2 prepares to collect samples, leave Planetary Society names on Ryugu

Jason Davis • August 28, 2018

The names were collected by the Society in 2013, and are stored on target markers that will be dropped on the asteroid.

Hayabusa2 Team Announces Ryugu Landing Sites, Initial Science Survey Results

Emily Lakdawalla • August 24, 2018

Two months after arrival, the team has reported some preliminary facts about Ryugu. They also announced the selection of candidate landing sites for the spacecraft sample collection, for the German-built MASCOT hopper, and for the MINERVA-II microrovers

Hayabusa2 descends again, this time to lower than 1000 meters above Ryugu

Emily Lakdawalla • August 10, 2018

This week Hayabusa2 completed its closest approach yet to asteroid Ryugu. In a successful gravity measurement experiment on August 6, the spacecraft dipped to within 1 kilometer of the asteroid.

A second successful medium-altitude operation for Hayabusa2

Emily Lakdawalla • August 03, 2018

For the second time, JAXA navigators have zoomed their cameras and other instruments in on asteroid Ryugu. The August 1 operation was quicker than the previous one, requiring only 26 hours for the descent, science, and ascent.

Hayabusa2 descends from Home Position to take its first close look at Ryugu

Emily Lakdawalla • July 25, 2018

Last week, Hayabusa2 approached to within 6000 meters of the surface of Ryugu, taking new photos. The team has developed a set of terminology to describe Hayabusa2's navigational positions around the asteroid.

New goodies from asteroid Ryugu!

Jason Davis • July 11, 2018

Two new global views of Ryugu from Hayabusa2, plus a 3-D animation.

What's the benefit of sample return?

Jason Davis • July 05, 2018

With Hayabusa2 at Ryugu and OSIRIS-REx closing on Bennu, it's the summer of sample return. Why do scientists go to so much trouble for a piece of a another world?

Hayabusa2 arrived at Ryugu, so I can make comparisons of asteroid scales!

Emily Lakdawalla • June 27, 2018

On 26 June 2018, Hayabusa2 arrived at its target asteroid, Ryugu. In a very brief status update, I present comparisons of Ryugu to other previously visited asteroids and comets.

Hayabusa2 update: New views of Ryugu and corkscrew course adjustments

Emily Lakdawalla • June 21, 2018

Ryugu has continued to grow in Hayabusa2's forward view, resolving into a diamond-shaped body with visible bumps and craters! They've done hazard searches, optical navigation imaging, and measured the rotation rate at 7.6 hours.

Rotatin' Ryugu!

Jason Davis • June 18, 2018

Hayabusa2 continues to approach asteroid Ryugu, revealing the 900-meter-wide world in all its glory.

Hayabusa2: Ryugu takes shape

Emily Lakdawalla • June 14, 2018

Hayabusa2 is now less than 1000 kilometers away from Ryugu, and the tiny asteroid is beginning to betray its shape.

Hayabusa2's Approach phase has begun with a new photo of Ryugu!

Emily Lakdawalla • June 07, 2018

On June 3, Hayabusa2 ended use of its ion engines, for now, and is coasting the remaining distance toward Ryugu. It's using an optical navigation camera to image the asteroid's position against a field of background stars to help it navigate.

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