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Our journalists and guest bloggers bring you stunning imagery and the space stories that matter most.

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 • 1

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 • 2

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 • 1

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 • 1

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 • 5

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 • 2

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 • 1

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 • 2

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

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