Japan Launched Two Rovers at an Asteroid

AlphaAtlas

[H]ard|Gawd
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Today, Japan launched 2 small rovers at an asteroid from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft. The original mission launched in 2014, and took some stunning fly-by shots of the Earth in 2015 on its way out. The 2 diminutive drones measure 18cm by 7cm, weigh 1.1kg each, and feature small motors to "hop" across the surface. Japan showed their enthusiasm in a tweet featuring the spacecraft's shadow on the asteroid's surface. The main craft will throw two more rovers at the asteroid next year.

Check out a video of the mission here.

There are four cameras on Rover-1A and three cameras on Rover-1B. We are planning to use the cameras on each rover to create a stereo image of the surface of Ryugu. Some of the projections from the rover edge that looks like thorns are temperature sensors to measure the surface temperature of Ryugu. Additional instruments on the rovers include optical sensors, an accelerometer and a gyroscope.
 
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Japanese rushing forward to be the first to mine that quadrillion $ asteroid? The sun is rising again!
 
Welp Australia is doomed.

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But seriously, I really question how well moving their drone around by jerking a weight inside the craft will work. I know the physical principle behind it, but how and where it lands will be unpredictable. Why not make something that can roll instead?
 
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But seriously, I really question how well moving their drone around by jerking a weight inside the craft will work. I know the physical principle behind it, but how and where it lands will be unpredictable. Why not make something that can roll instead?

That's what I wondered as well. If it flips and lands wrong side do they have to flip again so it can transmit? If so, they are going to use up a lot of battery just flipping it over and over. I also thought the landing approach seemed odd. Nothing to "soften" the blow, just hit the surface and bounce around a bunch.
 
Well, hopefully they won't have an issue with the parachute release bolts like we did. :facepalm:
 
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