A pair of Japanese rovers have sent back a group of photos and the first-ever video recorded on the surface of an asteroid, Gizmodo reports.
Watch the footage below:
Rover-1B succeeded in shooting a movie on Ryugu’s surface! The movie has 15 frames captured on September 23, 2018 from 10:34 – 11:48 JST. Enjoy ‘standing’ on the surface of this asteroid! [6/6] pic.twitter.com/57avmjvdVa
Japan’s MINERVA-II rovers – MINERVA II2 and MINERVA II1 – traversed the surface of Ryugu, an asteroid located 174 million miles from Earth’s surface and documented what they found. Minerva stands for Micro Nano Experimental Robot Vehicle for Asteroid (2nd generation).
The robots took a series of snapshots as they bounded across the asteroids surface, taking advantage of the low gravity to travel more than 50 feet per leap, a journey that would take up to 15 minutes to complete.
The rovers were sent by Japan’s Hayabusa2 space probe, which has been orbiting the asteroid since June.
The 15-frame video was captured by MINERVA-II2, also known as Rover 1B, on September 23, the same day that it and its companion, MINERVA-II1, landed on Ryugu, an asteroid located 174 million miles (280 million kilometers) from Earth. The rovers were dispatched by Japan’s Hayabusa2 space probe, which arrived in orbit around the asteroid back in June.
According to RT, the 900m-wide Ryugu (also known as asteroid 162173) is believed to be a relic from the earliest days of our solar system. The mission was intended to examine the space rock in the hopes of finding more clues about the formation of Earth.