Japanese space agency reported that its Hayabusa 2 has recently put another rover on the surface of asteroid Ryugu. The rover created by Germany and France is Mascot (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) and was ejected last week on Wednesday on to the space rock Ryugu. Like its predecessors, Mascot too will move across the asteroid’s surface to gather information about surface temperatures, mineral composition and magnetic fields. The Hayabusa2 reached close to the asteroid after completing a three-and-a-half-year journey from Earth. The Mascot built by German Aerospace Center (DLR) and French Space Agency (Cnes) is proceeding according to plan and images captured by it during decent have already been uploaded by Hayabusa 2.
To put Mascot on the asteroid, Hayabusa2 had to reduce its altitude located 20 km above the asteroid and drop down to 51 meters above Ryugu and then gently let the rover drift into the 900-meter wide asteroid’s orbit. Mascot’s principal investigator Dr. Ralf Jaumann stated that Ryugu’s gravitational pull is so low that the rover gently flied down to its surface like a piece of paper floating down to a table from a height of 30 cms.
The Franco-German Mascot has a swing arm built into its body to generate a torque that will throw it to a new location on the asteroid after it completes study in one region. The rover’s payload consists of four scientific instruments, namely, an infrared microscope, a camera, a radiometer and a magnetometer. Operations manager of Mascot, Christian Krause said that the goal is to understand the foundation of the asteroid that would give the team deeper understanding of how the Earth and other planets have formed. The team is keen on gathering information about how water on Earth originated and some scientists are of the view that asteroids and comets brought water to Earth during early days when they collided with her.