Space Robotics

Hayabusa Sends Minerva To Hop On Itokawa

Posted 4 Nov 2005 at 00:39 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

It what is being called a daring encounter with an asteroid, a small unmanned Japanese spacecraft called Hayabusa (aka Muses-C) arrived at asteroid Itokawa recently and is snapping some great photos. What's especially cool about the encounter, however, is that Hayabusa has a little baby hopping robot inside it called Minerva that will be released to land on November 12th. The mini-robot Minerva will then hop around on the low gravity asteroid Itokawa and even get some readings and samples and return them back to Earth! Hayabusa's health is not so good, though. Right now the spacecraft is running on it's last gyro (3 died of 4) and last bit of fuel to keep it oriented properly. Japan's space agency is hoping that all will hold together for this exciting part of the mission.

Landing called off, posted 6 Nov 2005 at 20:11 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

It looks like Minerva folks called for a timeout. The touch down is called off for now.

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