Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo and collaborators

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 has provided new imagery of asteroid Ryugu from an altitude of 4 miles (6 kilometers) distance.

Hayabusa2 arrived at asteroid Ryugu on June 27. The innovative spacecraft remained at a distance of about 12 miles (20 kilometers), dubbed the “Home Position” to continue to observe the asteroid.

During this time, the spacecraft maintained a hovering altitude above the asteroid surface.

Lower altitude

In the week of July 16, operations were begun to lower this hovering altitude, eventually bringing the spacecraft closer to the asteroid surface.

Japan’s Hayabusa2 is pulling up to Ryugu – a C-type asteroid – for detailed study.
Artwork: Akihiro Ikeshita

Imagery was captured with the Hayabusa2’s Optical Navigation Camera – Telescopic (ONC-T).

The resolution of new imagery is about 3.4 times higher than the images taken from the Home Position.

Crater, boulders

The largest crater on the surface of Ryugu is situated near the center of the image

Revealed in the imagery is that the surface of Ryugu is covered with a large number of boulders. Imagery taken by Hayabusa2 will provide important information as JAXA scientists select a landing site.

One Response to “Japan’s Hayabusa2 Closes in on Asteroid Target”

  • Hello,
    I am very pleased your mission is on track. Congratulations for arriving at the asteroid in one piece — not easy !!
    Can you please keep me informed about the progress of your mission or the relevant website.
    When do you expect to actually ” land ” on the asteroid ?
    Once again well done and the best of ” luck “.
    Regds,

    Mike.

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