Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft will try to collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu during the week of 18 February, mission officials said during a press briefing last week.
The spacecraft will spend the end of 2018 a safe distance from Ryugu, as the Sun's position makes communications with Earth spotty.
Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft was scheduled to touch down on Ryugu later this month, but that has been delayed to early 2019.
When planetary scientist Brittney Cooper was scrolling through the downlinked images of Hayabusa2’s approach of asteroid Ryugu, a familiar sight caught her attention.
For 17 hours on 3 October, the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) lander sent data to the waiting Hayabusa2 orbiter from multiple locations on Ryugu.
Pics of Ryugu's surface show loose piles of gravel strewn with larger rocks and boulders.
The two small spacecraft are the size and shape of cheese wheels, and can autonomously hop around the surface.
Hayabusa2 didn’t quite make it down to its intended 60-meter distance from asteroid Ryugu yesterday. There is nothing wrong with the spacecraft; it’s healthy and returning to its home position. The team will adjust parameters and give it another try in the future.
The names were collected by the Society in 2013, and are stored on target markers that will be dropped on the asteroid.
Two months after arrival, the team has reported some preliminary facts about Ryugu. They also announced the selection of candidate landing sites for the spacecraft sample collection, for the German-built MASCOT hopper, and for the MINERVA-II microrovers
This week Hayabusa2 completed its closest approach yet to asteroid Ryugu. In a successful gravity measurement experiment on August 6, the spacecraft dipped to within 1 kilometer of the asteroid.
For the second time, JAXA navigators have zoomed their cameras and other instruments in on asteroid Ryugu. The August 1 operation was quicker than the previous one, requiring only 26 hours for the descent, science, and ascent.
Last week, Hayabusa2 approached to within 6000 meters of the surface of Ryugu, taking new photos. The team has developed a set of terminology to describe Hayabusa2's navigational positions around the asteroid.
Two new global views of Ryugu from Hayabusa2, plus a 3-D animation.
With Hayabusa2 at Ryugu and OSIRIS-REx closing on Bennu, it's the summer of sample return. Why do scientists go to so much trouble for a piece of a another world?
On 26 June 2018, Hayabusa2 arrived at its target asteroid, Ryugu. In a very brief status update, I present comparisons of Ryugu to other previously visited asteroids and comets.
Ryugu has continued to grow in Hayabusa2's forward view, resolving into a diamond-shaped body with visible bumps and craters! They've done hazard searches, optical navigation imaging, and measured the rotation rate at 7.6 hours.
Hayabusa2 continues to approach asteroid Ryugu, revealing the 900-meter-wide world in all its glory.
Hayabusa2 is now less than 1000 kilometers away from Ryugu, and the tiny asteroid is beginning to betray its shape.
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.