The Japanese landed on the surface of the asteroid two probe


If successful, Hayabusa 2 will be the first spacecraft to successfully deploy rovers on the surface of an asteroid.

The solar panelled-powered rovers move by "hopping" because the extremely weak gravity on the asteroid makes rolling hard.

"The separation between the Hayabusa-2 probe and the rovers went well", stated Japanese Space Agency, JAXA.

"Therefore, this hopping mechanism was adopted for moving across the surface of such small celestial bodies".

In October, Hayabusa2 will release another lander, made by the German Aerospace Center, called will also hop across the asteroid in a similar way as the rovers. "Additional instruments on the rovers include optical sensors, an accelerometer and a gyroscope".

Hayabusa2, launched in December 2014, is due to return to Earth in late 2020. The operation started when the probe was approximately 55 metres over rough rocky surface of the asteroid, as told by the mission team.

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But these springy rovers aren't the only trick Hayabusa-2 has up its sleeve. Their job is to scout out the surface of the space rock before the larger probe attempts a landing itself next month.

Japanese scientists are now racing NASA for that historic achievement, with the U.S. agency's own sample retrieval mission due to arrive back on Earth in 2023.

Station arrived at the asteroid in June this year, shortly before she began to decline and dropped two of the Rover from the height of a few tens of meters above the surface.

C-type asteroids, which are largely composed of carbon, are the most common variety of asteroids, comprising more than 75% of those now discovered.

JAXA tried to launch a probe in 2005, but it failed to land on its target asteroid.

"From a distance, Ryugu initially appeared round, then gradually turned into a square before becoming a attractive shape similar to fluorite - known as the "firefly stone" in Japanese", the space agency said in a statement.