Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Mascot Asteroid Landing Successful | DLR/JAXA

"Hello Earth...I promised to send you some pictures of Ryugu so here’s a shot I took during my descent. Can you spot my shadow?"
The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) has landed on asteroid Ryugu.
Hayabusa2 is a Japanese space agency (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency; JAXA) mission to the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu. The German-French lander MASCOT on board Hayabusa2 was developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and built in close cooperation with the French space agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales). DLR, the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale and the Technical University of Braunschweig have contributed the scientific experiments on board MASCOT. The MASCOT lander and its experiments are operated and controlled by DLR with support from CNES and in constant interaction with the Hayabusa2 team.

The DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen was responsible for developing and testing the lander together with CNES. The DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems in Braunschweig was responsible for the stable structure of the lander. The DLR Robotics and Mechatronics Center in Oberpfaffenhofen developed the swing arm that allows MASCOT to hop on the asteroid. Das DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin contributed the MasCam camera and the MARA radiometer. The asteroid lander is monitored and operated from the MASCOT Control Center in the Microgravity User Support Center (MUSC) at the DLR site in Cologne.

162173 Ryugu, provisional designation 1999 JU3, is a near-Earth object and a potentially hazardous asteroid of the Apollo group. It measures approximately 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) in diameter and is a dark object of the rare spectral type Cg, with qualities of both a C-type asteroid and a G-type asteroid.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Ryugu orbits the Sun at a distance of 0.96–1.41 AU once every 16 months (474 days; semi-major axis of 1.19 AU). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.19 and an inclination of 6° with respect to the ecliptic. It has a minimum orbital intersection distance with Earth of 95,400 km (0.000638 AU), which translates into 0.23 lunar distance. (Source: Wikipedia)

The name refers to Ryūgū (Dragon Palace), a magical underwater palace in a Japanese folktale. In the story, the fisherman Urashima Tarō travels to the palace on the back of a turtle, and when he returns, he carries with him a mysterious box, much like Hayabusa2 returning with samples.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Credit: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Image Date: October 3, 2018

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