Japan’s Hayabusa2 is just 6 kilometers from asteroid Ryugu as it prepares to snatch samples of the space rock for return to Earth. ISAS/JAXA Director General and former Hayabusa Mission Project Manager Hitoshi Kuninaka joins us for a conversation about the spacecraft and what’s ahead. Then we hear from Hansjörg Dittus of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) about the German/French lander called MASCOT that was carried to Ryugu by Hayabusa2. Emily Lakdawalla is the new editor of the Planetary Society’s distinguished magazine, The Planetary Report. Bruce Betts explains how to get the most out of a lunar eclipse and the closest Mars has come to Earth for many years. We also give you an extra week to enter the space trivia contest!
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.
Images: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Koichi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST. Comparison: Emily Lakdawalla, The Planetary Society. All errors hers.
Itokawa and Ryugu compared
The two target asteroids of Hayabusa and Hayabusa2, compared. The comparison is based on less-than-precise information on the scales of the two images; it may be updated with another version once better scale information is available. Do not use for spacecraft navigation.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
MASCOT lander (artist concept)
The asteroid lander MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) hopping across Ryugu’s surface.