Japan first country to successfully land robotic rovers on an asteroid Ryugu
Published: September 27, 2018
The Japanese space agency JAXA has made history by successfully landing two robotic rovers on the surface of an asteroid Ryugu. The rovers are collectively known as MINERVA-II1 (MIcro Nano Experimental Robot Vehicle for Asteroid, the second generation), which were separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft on 21st September 2018 . The space agency reported that the small compact MINERVA-II1 is the world’s first mobile exploration robot to land on the surface of an asteroid. This is also the first time for autonomous movement and picture capture on an asteroid surface. Therefore, MINERVA-II1 is the world’s first man-made object to explore movement on an asteroid surface. Asteroids are believed to have rich information about the formation of the solar system billions of years ago. The third rover called MASCOT will be launched from Hayabusa2 in early October 2018. If successful, MASCOT will be the world’s first sample return mission to a C-type asteroid.