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Japanese space agency launches hopping probes

A hopping space probe which will land on the surface of a large asteroid has been launched by the Japanese Space Agency.
The agency's spacecraft released two small exploration robots in a research project to find clues to the origin of the solar system.
Both Minerva-II rovers were lowered from the unmanned Hayabusa2, on to the asteroid Ryugu.The rovers move around by hopping, because the gravity on the asteroid makes rolling difficult. Each hop lasts 15 minutes.
Japanese space agency launches hopping probes

Image:
The probe can be seen as a shadow on the asteroid
The spacecraft travelled to the asteroid, which is 170 miles (280m km) from Earth, and arrived in June.The space agency (JAXA) said it would know if the robots have landed on Saturday, when they will send confirmation data of touchdown.If the mission is successful it will be the first moving, robotic observation of an asteroid surface.The two robots will capture images of the asteroid and measure temperatures before the agency sends a larger rover in October.Yuichi Tsuda, JAXA project manager said: "We are very much hopeful. We don't have confirmation yet, but we are very, very hopeful.
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