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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.

How to keep up with Hayabusa2

Emily Lakdawalla • May 25, 2018

Hayabusa2 is approaching asteroid Ryugu! Here's how to stay on top of mission news and the mission's planned schedule for 2018.

What kind of asteroid is Ryugu?

Makoto Yoshikawa • April 24, 2018

What do we already know about Ryugu, and why is it so hard to know what it looks like? Hayabusa2 Mission Manger Makoto Yoshikawa

Hayabusa2 has detected Ryugu!

Emily Lakdawalla • March 01, 2018

In a milestone for the mission, JAXA's Hayabusa2 sample return spacecraft has sighted its destination, asteroid Ryugu.

What's up in the solar system, June 2016 edition: Juno approaches Jupiter

Emily Lakdawalla • June 01, 2016

Your monthly roundup of the adventures of the 20+ robots exploring our solar system.

What's up in solar system exploration: April 2016 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • April 04, 2016

This month (actually, today), Cassini had a relatively close flyby of Titan, and New Horizons will observe a very distant Kuiper belt object named 1994 JR1. Akatsuki has just fine-tuned its orbit around Venus, and Hayabusa2 has begun an 800-hour ion engine thrusting phase to steer it toward near-Earth asteroid Ryugu.

Hayabusa2 views Earth and the Moon on approach to December 3 flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • December 01, 2015

I just love photos of Earth from planetary missions -- especially if they manage to get Earth and Moon in the same shot, as Hayabusa2 did on November 26.

Two JAXA mission updates: Akatsuki Venus orbit entry and PROCYON Earth flyby coming up!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2015

Akatsuki is finally approaching its second attempt to enter Venus orbit, on December 7; let's all wish JAXA the best of luck! And PROCYON, whose ion engines have failed, is still an otherwise perfectly functional spacecraft that is taking photos of Earth and the Moon as it approaches for a flyby.

How do you pronounce "Ryugu?"

Emily Lakdawalla • October 07, 2015

With some help from astronomer Elizabeth Tasker and a group of astronomy graduate students from the University of Hokkaido, I learn how.

Hayabusa2's target asteroid has a name!

Emily Lakdawalla • October 05, 2015

JAXA announced today the results of the naming contest for Hayabusa2. The target of the sample-return mission, formerly known as 1999 JU3 and still numbered 162173, is now named 162173 Ryugu.

Name Hayabusa2's asteroid target!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 22, 2015

Have you ever wanted to name an asteroid? JAXA is offering the opportunity to name Hayabusa2's target asteroid, 1999 JU3 to the public through a contest that runs through August 31.

Due to ion engine failure, PROCYON will not fly by an asteroid

Emily Lakdawalla • May 08, 2015

PROCYON, the mini-satellite launched with Hayabusa2, will not be able to achieve its planned asteroid flyby due to the failure of its ion engine.

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