Japan’s space agency, JAXA, released a video on Twitter on Thursday showing how it looks like on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu, which is located more than 200 million miles away from our planet. The video was taken by one of the two rovers that are at the moment placed on the asteroid.
What can we see in the video
The video was taken on 23rd of September and it is made of 15 frames. The video illustrates the asteroid’s rocky surface, together with the view of the sun moving in the sky. The way it is observed from Earth during the night, the asteroid and the rovers that are on it are presently passing across the constellation Virgo and its position is somewhere between Venus and Mercury. The Japanese team also posted a series of photos on Thursday and it seems that the same rover that took the video, Rover-1B “hopped”, which is an important thing for the scientists, given the fact that the gravity on such asteroids like Ryugu is weak. Yuichi Tsuda, who is a project manager, couldn’t express how happy he was that they were able to “realize mobile exploration on the surface of an asteroid”.
Rover-1B succeeded in shooting a movie on Ryugu’s surface! The movie has 15 frames captured on September 23, 2018 from 10:34 – 11:48 JST. Enjoy ‘standing’ on the surface of this asteroid! [6/6] pic.twitter.com/57avmjvdVa
Two small rovers that could help us understand more about the evolution of Earth
Based on the information from the JAXA website, the two rovers that performed the hopping and that captured the media, Rover-1A and Rover 1-B, were kept in a container named MINERVA-II1. This container was sent into orbit last week from the spacecraft Hayabusa2. At the moment, the space vehicle is orbiting the asteroid. It appears that both the video and the set of hopping photos were captured by Rover-1B. Nevertheless, Rover-1A also took an image that shows the shadow of its antenna and pin. Studying this primitive asteroid might help scientists find out more about how the Earth was formed and they could also learn more about how the solar system works.