Probe finds asteroid's surface is 30-100 degrees C
NHK -- Jul 20
Japan's space agency says its Hayabusa2 probe is shedding more light on the features of the asteroid Ryugu. It says the celestial body's surface temperatures range from 30 to 100 degrees Celsius.

Scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, disclosed the latest findings at a news conference on Thursday.

The explorer reached a point 20 kilometers from Ryugu on June 27th. The asteroid, which is roughly 900 meters in diameter, is about 300 million kilometers from the Earth.

The scientists say the latest observations show the asteroid's surface temperatures vary according to the amount of sunlight.

They say these temperature levels will not prevent the probe from exploring Ryugu's surface.

They also say that each area of Ryugu has 2 seasons, summer and winter, because the axis of its rotation is slightly tilted. The 2 seasons combined last for about 15 months.

The scientists expect that further observations of temperature changes will show whether the materials on the surface are sand or rock.

They plan to have Hayabusa2 descend to about 6,000 meters from the asteroid around Friday, and to 1,000 meters around August 7th to carry out more detailed studies. They hope to find a good location for a landing by the probe in September or October.

Hayabusa2 Mission Manager Makoto Yoshikawa says their research shows that Ryugu is scientifically very interesting.

Yoshikawa also says the probe has detected many rocks on the asteroid's surface. He says the researchers hope to find a flat place for the landing by making observations at a lower altitude.

News source: NHK
Oct 20
Final preparations were under way Friday for the launch of a joint mission by European and Japanese space agencies to send twin probes to Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. (Japan Times)
Oct 20
Scandal-hit KYB Corp. on Friday disclosed the names of 70 government and municipal office buildings that used, or are suspected of having used, substandard earthquake shock absorbers in their construction. (Japan Times)
Oct 20
Police said Friday they have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the stabbing of his grandparents in the city of Wako in Saitama Prefecture. (Japan Today)
Oct 19
An international team of researchers has given the name Godzilla to one of what it calls the modern constellations. The monster is among the most popular film characters created in Japan. (NHK)
Oct 19
Japanese police are questioning staff from the Bulgarian national opera after being notified by the opera company that they are suspected of scrawling graffiti in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. (NHK)
Oct 19
Tokyo's Shibuya Ward is asking people not to disturb others when celebrating Halloween. (NHK)
Oct 19
The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will reprimand a 52-year-old judge for his controversial social media post earlier this year, marking a first in Japan. (Japan Times)
Oct 19
Around 70 Japanese lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties visited the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo during its annual autumn festival Thursday, a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the shrine. (Japan Times)
Oct 18
For years, electronics giants have been developing smartphones with increasingly larger screens. Bucking the trend for phones to be bigger and flashier is a handset set to debut next month from NTT Docomo Inc. that can fit in your business card case. (Japan Times)
Oct 18
The landmark Tokyo Skytree tower, facilities for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and more government offices are among the nearly 1,000 buildings using earthquake shock absorbers produced by KYB Corp, which admitted cheating quality inspection data for more than a decade, officials said Wednesday. (Japan Today)