HAYABUSA2, MASCOT, MINERVA II
Friday 5 October, 08:30 – 09:30
Bremen Exhibition & Conference Center – DLR Hall
“The Hayabusa2 mission is an asteroid sample-return mission operated by the Japan Space Exploration Agency (JAXA). It is intended to image and sample the asteroid 1999 JU3, discovered in May 1999, now known as Ryugu, and to return samples of the asteroid to Earth for laboratories analysis. C-type asteroid Ryugu belongs to the most common variety of near-Earth asteroids. The aim of the Hayabusa2 mission is to learn more about the origin and evolution of the Solar System.
The MASCOT lander (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) – developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and built in close cooperation with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) – is currenly on board the Hayabusa2 spacecraft. At the beginning of October 2018 (3 October, tbc), it will touch down on the asteroid Ryugu. For about 16 hours, the four instruments (camera, radiometer, magnetometer, spectrometer) will be operated on the asteroid’s surface. In addition, MASCOT is able to ‘hop’ around on the surface and take measurements in several places. This will be the first time that a lander was especially built to operate on an asteroid and the first time that data will be collected at more than one site on an asteroid’s surface.
The MINERVA “hoppers”, MINERVA-II1A and MINERVA-II1B will land at several locations on the surface of Ryugu to study these locations with cameras and thermometers. The two tiny MINERVA-II1A and MINERVA-II1B robots were successfully deployed on September 21. They won’t move on the asteroid’s surface in the traditional sense; similar to MASCOT, the duo will ‘hop’ from place to place on Ryugu.”
Research Professor, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University