Join Donate

Jason DavisJuly 11, 2018

New goodies from asteroid Ryugu!

Hayabusa2 arrived at asteroid Ryugu back on June 27. Since then, it has been holding at a distance of 20 kilometers while flight controllers back on Earth check out its instruments. At the end of July, the spacecraft will start descending to a height of just 5 kilometers for medium-altitude observations. 

The project has been quiet for a couple weeks, but today, JAXA released some new goodies! First, two new global views, the second of which really brings the bright object at the north pole into focus:

Ryugu global view 1, 20 km

JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST

Ryugu global view 1, 20 km
Ryugu as seen by Hayabusa2's Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic (ONC-T) from a distance of about 20 kilometers. This image was taken at around 23:13 JST on June 30, 2018, and is the reverse side of global view 2.
Ryugu global view 2, 20 km

JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST

Ryugu global view 2, 20 km
Ryugu as seen by Hayabusa2's Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic (ONC-T) from a distance of about 20 kilometers. This image was taken at around 19:21 JST on June 30, 2018, and is the reverse side of global view 1.

And here's a fancy rotation video! Get out your red-and-blue 3-D glasses for this one:

Ryugu global 3D animation

JAXA, University of Aizu, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University and AIST

Ryugu global 3D animation
This animation of Ryugu was created using images captured from a distance of about 40 kilometers on June 23, 2018. When viewing through red-and-blue 3D glasses, place the blue filter over your right eye.

The raw file is a little small, so here's a blown-up version:

via GIPHY

Finally, over at unmannedspaceflight.com, Roman Tkachenko used the new data to make an updated shape model of Ryugu. 

"It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing," he writes. (Personally, I think it's pretty awesome.)

Read more: asteroid 162173 Ryugu, Hayabusa2

You are here:
Jason Davis headshot v.4
Jason Davis

Digital Editor for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Jason Davis

Comments & Sharing
astronaut on Phobos
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

Support enables our dedicated journalists to research deeply and bring you original space exploration articles.

Donate

"We're changing the world. Are you in?"
- CEO Bill Nye

I'm In!