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
Feb 19
Immigration Bureau's relaxed visa policy has boosted tourism from southeast Asia, but it seems to have come with an unwanted side-effect. (
Feb 19
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is not saying whether or not he nominated Donald Trump for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, but the question may be moot: the U.S. president has been put forward by others for the prestigious award. (Japan Today)
Feb 19
The health ministry on Monday approved the world's first clinical test in which artificially derived stem cells will be used to treat patients with spinal cord injuries. (Japan Times)
Feb 18
A movie by the Japanese director Hikari picked up two awards at the Berlin International Film Festival on Saturday. "37 Seconds" won the Panorama Audience Award and the CICAE Art Cinema Award. (NHK)
Feb 18
By changing his lead attorney from a former prosecutor known as "the breaker" to a hotshot trial lawyer nicknamed "the acquitter", Carlos Ghosn plans a defense in his own image -- combative and media-savvy, experts say. (Japan Today)
Feb 17
Police in Koga, Ibaraki Prefecture, said Saturday they have arrested a 35-year-old woman on suspicion of abusing her six-year-old daughter by hitting her with a futon beater. (Japan Today)
Feb 16
Reservations for travel overseas are surging for this year's 10-day Golden Week period, during which the Imperial succession is set to take place, according to a JTB Corp. official. (Japan Times)
Feb 15
The Japanese government has mapped out a bill to officially recognize the Ainu ethnic minority as an indigenous people of Japan. (NHK)
Feb 15
Bullet train ticket machines have stopped working in many parts of Japan. (NHK)
Feb 13
Around the world, people use chocolate treats to express sweet nothings on Valentine's Day. (BBC)