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

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

Ryugu global 3D animation
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. JAXA, University of Aizu, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University and AIST

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.)

Please accept marketing-cookies to watch this video.

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