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Japan Reveals First Images Taken By Asteroid Rovers

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Japan landed two rovers on an asteroid known as Ryugu on Friday, and we’re now receiving images from the mission.

The first image was sent back to Earth at roughly 1:08 p.m. on Friday the 21st. This image from Rover 1A shows both the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft and asteroid Ryugu.

Japan Reveals First Images Taken By Asteroid Rovers-2
Image captured by Rover-1A on September 21 at around 13:08 JST. This is a color image taken immediately after separation from the spacecraft. Hayabusa2 is at the top and the surface of Ryugu is bottom. The image is blurred because the shot was taken while the rover was rotating. (Image credit: JAXA)



 

Although the image itself is grainy, it still marks a significant accomplishment as noted by Tetsuo Yoshimitsu a member of the Hayabusa-2 team, “Although I was disappointed with the blurred image that first came from the rover, it was good to be able to capture this shot,”

Rover 1B then sent back the next image that shows the rocky surface of Ryugu.

Japan Reveals First Images Taken By Asteroid Rovers-1
Image captured by Rover-1B on September 21 at around 13:07 JST. This color image was taken immediately after separation from the spacecraft. The surface of Ryugu is in the lower right. The coloured blur in the top left is due to the reflection of sunlight when the image was taken. (Image credit: JAXA)



 

The third image, sent back on Saturday September 22nd, is much more dramatic than the first two as it contains a lens flare from the sun (like you’d see in a J.J. Abrams movie).

Japan Reveals First Images Taken By Asteroid Rovers-3
Image captured by Rover-1A on September 22 at around 11:44 JST. Color image captured while moving (during a hop) on the surface of Ryugu. The left-half of the image is the asteroid surface. The bright white region is due to sunlight.
(Image credit: JAXA).



 

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