JAXA releases images of Ryugu taken by Hayabusa-2
NHK -- Jun 15
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, has released new images of the Ryugu asteroid taken by its probe Hayabusa-2.

JAXA said on Thursday that the probe is about 800 kilometers from the asteroid, 4 years after being launched.

The images were taken on Wednesday, 920 kilometers from the asteroid.

JAXA said they show that Ryugu is generally round, although it looks partly angular. It added that they also show it is 900 meters in diameter and has a rotation period of 7 hours and 40 minutes.

The Hayabusa-2 was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan's southern prefecture of Kagoshima. The probe is now about 300 million kilometers from Earth.

The craft is expected to reach 20 kilometers from the asteroid around June 27th and enter its orbit to closely observe its surface and shape.

The probe's prime mission is to land on Ryugu and collect samples from its surface.

Scientists hope the mission will shed more light on the origins of life if water or organic matter is found in the samples.

JAXA mission manager Makoto Yoshikawa says he expects clearer images of Ryugu next week when the probe gets closer to the asteroid.

News source: NHK
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