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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.

PROCYON update: Asteroid 2000 DP107 target selected, ion engine stopped

Emily Lakdawalla • April 13, 2015

PROCYON (PRoximate Object Close flYby with Optical Navigation) is a microsatellite that launched on December 3 as a secondary payload with Hayabusa2. The mission has now selected their asteroid flyby target -- a binary asteroid named 2000 DP107 -- but is reporting a problem with their ion engines.

Mini mission updates: Dawn in orbit; Curiosity short circuit; Rosetta image release; Hayabusa2 in cruise phase; and more

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2015

Dawn has successfully entered orbit at Ceres, becoming the first mission to orbit a dwarf planet and the first to orbit two different bodies beyond Earth. I also have updates on Curiosity, Rosetta, Mars Express, Hayabusa2, the Chang'e program, InSIGHT, and OSIRIS-REx.

A new mission for Akatsuki, and status updates for Hayabusa2 and Chang'e

Emily Lakdawalla • February 09, 2015

Brief updates on four ongoing missions: JAXA's Akatsuki and Hayabusa2, and China's Chang'e 3 and Chang'e 5 test vehicle. JAXA has articulated the new science plan for Akatsuki. Hayabusa2's ion engines have checked out successfully. The Yutu rover is still alive on the Moon, and Chang'e 5 test vehicle has successfully tested crucial rendezvous operations in lunar orbit.

Hayabusa2 launches toward asteroid rendezvous

Emily Lakdawalla • December 03, 2014

Hayabusa2 successfully launched on December 3, 2014 at 04:22 UTC, and embarked on its interplanetary journey about two hours later. During the launch, cameras captured video of the spacecraft fairing separation.

Hayabusa2 is about to launch! [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • December 02, 2014

Hayabusa2's H-IIA rocket has just reached its launchpad! Japan's next asteroid sample return mission was supposed to launch this weekend, but weather has not been good at the Tanegashima launch site and it has been delayed four days already. If the weather holds, it will launch December 3 at 04:22 UT (13:22 JST, or December 2 at 20:22, PT). UPDATED to add links to live webcasts.

Hayabusa2 nearly ready for launch: Photos from Tanegashima, and new artist's renderings

Emily Lakdawalla • October 30, 2014

On October 27, JAXA provided media with an opportunity to view the Hayabusa2 spacecraft at the Tanegashima space center, where it's making final preparations for launch. Koumei Shibata was there, and took several photos. And artist Go Miyazaki has shared several terrific new renderings of the spacecraft in flight.

Collaboration Between OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2

Dante Lauretta • October 20, 2014

The University of Arizona (UA) hosted representatives of the Hayabusa2 asteroid sample return mission to explore opportunities for collaboration with the OSIRIS-REx team.

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