December 10, 2019

Live coverage: MASCOT lander begins exploring asteroid Ryugu

October 2, 2018

Track the progress of the MASCOT lander, a tiny robot developed in Germany and France, as it explores asteroid Ryugu for a daring mission to hop across the austere world’s boulder-strewn landscape, taking pictures and collecting scientific data along the way. The robotic probe was released from the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft around 0200 GMT Wednesday (10 p.m. EDT Tuesday), and touched down a few minutes later.

Descent begins for European asteroid lander

October 2, 2018

A German-built landing probe the size of a microwave oven carrying a camera and a suite of scientific instruments was closing in on an asteroid Tuesday, riding aboard Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft to join two other robots deployed to the asteroid’s surface last month.

Japanese robots land on asteroid, send back pictures

September 22, 2018

A pair of tiny automated robots touched down on asteroid Ryugu on Friday after separating from Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft, sending back pictures as the probes bounced across the asteroid’s alien landscape nearly 200 million miles from Earth.

Hayabusa 2 team sets dates for asteroid landings

September 6, 2018

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is preparing to release three hopping robots to land on asteroid Ryugu in the coming month, with tiny instruments scientists hope will explore the airless world’s boulder-strewn landscape and return the first images from the surface of an asteroid.

Hayabusa 2 probe gets a closer look at asteroid amid landing preps

August 15, 2018

The Japanese Hayabusa 2 spacecraft dropped within a half-mile of asteroid Ryugu last week, probing its gravity field ahead of key decisions in the coming days to settle on a target site for the robotic mission’s first sample collection attempt, and the best touchdown location for a European lander stowed on the mothership.

Asteroid Ryugu revealed by approaching Japanese spacecraft

June 20, 2018

In the final days of a three-and-a-half year pursuit, Japan’s Hayabusa 2 sample return spacecraft is beaming back clearer images of asteroid Ryugu, an unexplored object that scientists say resembles a spinning top or dumpling nearly 180 million miles from Earth.

Asteroid missions on track to reach their destinations in 2018

January 18, 2018

Pioneering spacecraft from NASA and the Japanese space agency promise to reveal two unexplored asteroids later this year, officials said Wednesday, beginning surveys that will culminate in daring descents to capture samples for return to Earth, where eager scientists await a hands-on look at the specimens.

Asteroid probe confirmed on good trajectory after Earth flyby

December 14, 2015

A Japanese space probe picked up just the right amount of speed when it flew by Earth earlier this month, using the planet’s gravity to slingshot toward an asteroid scientists think is a primordial leftover from the ancient solar system, mission managers said Monday.

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