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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Heiligenschein Throughout the Solar System

When planetary scientist Brittney Cooper was scrolling through the downlinked images of Hayabusa2’s approach of asteroid Ryugu, a familiar sight caught her attention.

MASCOT landing on Ryugu a success

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.

Hayabusa2 stops short of close approach on first touchdown rehearsal

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.

A second successful medium-altitude operation for Hayabusa2

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.

What's the benefit of sample return?

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?

Rotatin' Ryugu!

Hayabusa2 continues to approach asteroid Ryugu, revealing the 900-meter-wide world in all its glory.

Hayabusa2: Ryugu takes shape

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!

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.

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