MAS­COT on board Hayabusa2

Mobile asteroid surface scout (MASCOT)

Mo­bile as­ter­oid sur­face scout (MAS­COT)

August 23, 2012  MAS­COT is a high­ly-in­te­grat­ed as­ter­oid lan­der whose de­vel­op­ment was co-or­di­nat­ed by DLR sci­en­tists col­lab­o­rat­ing with the French space agen­cy CNES and the Japanese space au­thor­i­ty JAXA.


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Image 1/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
Asteroid lander MASCOT on board the Hayabusa2 space probe

As­ter­oid lan­der MAS­COT on board the Hayabusa2 space probe

November 27, 2018  The Japanese Hayabusa2 space probe has com­plet­ed a 3200-mil­lion-kilo­me­tre long jour­ney car­ry­ing the Ger­man-French lan­der MAS­COT (Mo­bile As­ter­oid Sur­face Scout).


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Image 2/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
The MASCOT control centre

A look in­to the MAS­COT con­trol cen­tre

November 28, 2018  The as­ter­oid lan­der MAS­COT is mon­i­tored and op­er­at­ed from the Mi­cro­grav­i­ty Us­er Sup­port Cen­ter (MUSC) in Cologne.


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Image 3/34, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Artist's impression of MASCOT during landing

MAS­COT de­scends on­to the as­ter­oid

November 28, 2018  Artist's im­pres­sion of MAS­COT dur­ing land­ing


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Image 4/34, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
The landing site called 'MA-9'

Land­ing on the south­ern hemi­sphere

November 28, 2018  At this mo­ment, the land­ing site, lo­cat­ed at 315 de­grees east and 30 de­grees south, is still sim­ply called 'MA-9'.


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Image 5/34, Credit: c
MASCOT's approach to Ryugu and its path across the surface

MAS­COT's ap­proach to Ryugu and its path across the sur­face

November 28, 2018  Af­ter MAS­COT had sep­a­rat­ed from its moth­er­craft, Hayabusa2's ONC (Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era) record­ing sys­tem, with its three cam­eras, be­gan fol­low­ing MAS­COT’s de­scent to the as­ter­oid Ryugu from a height of 51 me­tres. The im­age sec­tion is ori­ent­ed to the north, and the area shown is lo­cat­ed at ap­prox­i­mate­ly 300 de­grees east and 30 de­grees south. Hayabusa2’s shad­ow can be seen on the low­er right. At the time of the sep­a­ra­tion, it was about noon on Ryugu and the Sun was be­hind Hayabusa2 – the shad­ow is about six by 4.5 me­tres.The points in­di­cate the times at which Hayabusa2 ac­quired im­ages of MAS­COT. The times are in UTC (Co­or­di­nat­ed Uni­ver­sal Time, CEST mi­nus two hours), the first im­age was ac­quired at 01:59 and 40 sec­onds UTC (03:59:40 CEST). The yel­low line in­di­cates the lo­ca­tions at which MAS­COT was still de­scend­ing to­wards Ryugu and where it could be iden­ti­fied in the ONC pho­tos. The blue line be­low the yel­low line is the pro­jec­tion of these po­si­tions on­to the as­ter­oid sur­face – so this shows MAS­COT's flight route was rather straight, and the lan­der touched down on a large edgy block at around 02:23 and 24 sec­onds UTC. From there, the as­ter­oid lan­der hopped along the curved hor­i­zon­tal line to­wards the east-north­east and was then re­peat­ed­ly im­aged by the ONC. At around 02:14 and 04 min­utes UTC MAS­COT came to rest at its first lo­ca­tion on the as­ter­oid. Mean­while, Hayabusa2 as­cend­ed to a high­er ob­ser­va­tion po­si­tion over Ryugu, mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult to iden­ti­fy MAS­COT in the im­ages due to the low­er im­age res­o­lu­tion. On the sec­ond as­ter­oid day, MAS­COT's mo­bil­i­ty mech­a­nism was ac­ti­vat­ed. An­oth­er im­age will show the lan­der on 4 Oc­to­ber at 00:55 and nine sec­onds UTC.


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Image 6/34, Credit: JAXA/U Tokyo/Kochi U/Rikkyo U/Nagoya U/ Chiba Inst Tech/Meiji U/U Aizu/AIST.
Shadow of MASCOT over asteroid Ryugu

Shad­ow of MAS­COT over as­ter­oid Ryugu dur­ing the de­scent

November 28, 2018  DLR's MAS­CAM cam­era on board MAS­COT ac­quired this im­age as it de­scend­ed to the as­ter­oid Ryugu three and a half min­utes af­ter sep­a­rat­ing from its moth­er­craft Hayabusa2. In the im­age, the lan­der is ap­prox­i­mate­ly 20 me­tres above the as­ter­oid's sur­face, and MAS­COT's shad­ow can be seen at the top right.


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Image 7/34, Credit: MASCOT/DLR/JAXA.
Landing sites for the Hayabusa2-Mission on the asteroid Ryugu

Land­ing sites for the Hayabusa2-Mis­sion on the as­ter­oid Ryugu

November 28, 2018  The lan­der MAS­COT will land on Ryugu with­in the el­lipse-shaped land­ing site MA-9 marked in blue. The Japanese Hayabusa2 space probe will ap­proach the as­ter­oid’s sur­face and take sam­ples from the ar­eas L07, L08 and M04. The MIN­ER­VA rovers were de­ployed at the land­ing site N6 marked in red.


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Image 8/34, Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo & collaborators
Asteroid Ryugu

As­ter­oid Ryugu

August 13, 2018  As­ter­oid Ryugu, pho­tographed on 30 June 2018, from Hayabusa2’s home po­si­tion, 20 kilo­me­tres from the sur­face, with the Japanese Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era – Tele­scop­ic (ONC-T).


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Image 9/34, Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST.
Close to the asteroid Ryugu

Close to the as­ter­oid Ryugu

July 25, 2018  On 20 Ju­ly 2018, the Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era - Tele­scop­ic (ONC-T) of the Japanese Hayabusa2 probe ac­quired an im­age of the as­ter­oid Ryugu from a dis­tance of six kilo­me­tres. The nu­mer­ous large boul­ders on the as­ter­oid’s sur­face as well as the large crater in the mid­dle of the pic­ture are eas­i­ly recog­nis­able. One pix­el is about 60 cen­time­tres.


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Image 10/34, Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST.University of Aizu, Kobe University, Auburn University, JAXA.
Close-up of the asteroid Ryugu

Close-up of the as­ter­oid Ryugu

August 7, 2018  The im­age was ac­quired with the Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era - Tele­scop­ic (ONC-T) of the Japanese Hayabusa2 probe.


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Image 11/34, Credit: JAXA, Tokyo University, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University, AIST.
3D model of the asteroid Ryugu

Ryugu – a ‘di­a­mond’ in space

November 28, 2018  Based on the first im­ages of Ryugu, tak­en by the Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era – Tele­scop­ic (ONC-T) of the Japanese Hayabusa2 space probe, the Japanese space agen­cy JAXA and re­searchers from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Aizu de­vel­oped a 3D mod­el of the as­ter­oid. In Oc­to­ber 2018, the lan­der MAS­COT, de­vel­oped and built by the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (Deutsches Zen­trum für Luft- und Raum­fahrt; DLR) in close co­op­er­a­tion with the French space agen­cy CNES (Cen­tre Na­tion­al d’Etudes Spa­tiales), will land on the as­ter­oid. The ce­les­tial body will then be re­searched us­ing four in­stru­ments.


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Image 12/34, Credit: University of Aizu, Kobe University, Auburn University, JAXA
Der Weg von Hayabusa2 von der Erde zum Asteroid Ryugu

Der Weg von Hayabusa2 von der Erde zum As­ter­oid Ryugu

June 27, 2018  The Japanese Hayabusa2 space­craft has made a 3200-mil­lion-kilo­me­tre jour­ney with the Ger­man-French Mo­bile As­ter­oid Sur­face Scout (MAS­COT) lan­der on board. The two space­craft have been trav­el­ling through the So­lar Sys­tem since De­cem­ber 2014, cul­mi­nat­ing in an ap­proach ma­noeu­vre to the near-Earth as­ter­oid that has last­ed sev­er­al weeks and was com­plet­ed on 27 June 2018. 


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Image 13/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Asteroid Ryugu imaged from a distance of approximately 40 kilometres

As­ter­oid Ryugu im­aged from a dis­tance of ap­prox­i­mate­ly 40 kilo­me­tres

June 27, 2018  As­ter­oid Ryugu im­aged from a dis­tance of 40 kilo­me­tres on 24 June 2018, dur­ing the ap­proach of the Hayabusa2 space­craft. The im­age was ac­quired by the ‘Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era – Tele­scop­ic’ (ONC-T) on board Hayabusa2. The im­age shows a par­tic­u­lar­ly large crater near the equa­tor and the un­usu­al an­gu­lar shape of the as­ter­oid. The ONC was de­vel­oped and built un­der the lead­er­ship of JAXA in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tokyo, Kochi Uni­ver­si­ty, Rikkyo Uni­ver­si­ty, Nagoya Uni­ver­si­ty, Chi­ba In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, Mei­ji Uni­ver­si­ty, Aizu Uni­ver­si­ty and the Na­tion­al In­sti­tute of Ad­vanced In­dus­tri­al Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy (AIST) with con­tract­ed con­tri­bu­tions from the com­pa­ny NEC.


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Image 14/34, Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo & collaborators.
Asteroid lander MASCOT

As­ter­oid lan­der MAS­COT

November 28, 2018  A to­tal of four in­stru­ments are in­stalled with­in the 30 x 30 x 20-cen­time­tre lan­der. A DLR ra­diome­ter and cam­era, to­geth­er with a spec­trom­e­ter from the In­sti­tut d'As­tro­physique Spa­tiale and a mag­ne­tome­ter from the TU Braun­schweig, are set to ex­am­ine the min­er­alog­i­cal and ge­o­log­i­cal com­po­si­tion of the as­ter­oid’s sur­face and gauge its sur­face tem­per­a­ture as well as the as­ter­oid’s mag­net­ic field. A built-in swing arm gives MAS­COT the re­quired propul­sion to make jump­ing ma­noeu­vres over the sur­face.


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Image 15/34, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Hayabusa2 approaching asteroid Ryugu

Hayabusa2 ap­proach­ing as­ter­oid Ryugu

June 26, 2018  The or­bit of as­ter­oid Ryugu lies most­ly be­tween the or­bits of Earth and Mars.


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Image 16/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
Images of the asteroid Ryugu during the approach

Im­ages of the as­ter­oid Ryugu dur­ing the ap­proach

June 26, 2018  Im­ages of the as­ter­oid Ryugu ac­quired be­tween 18 and 20 June 2018 by the Japanese Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era – Tele­scop­ic (ONC-T) on board Hayabusa2, dur­ing the space­craft’s ap­proach. Among oth­er things, a large rock with a di­am­e­ter of ap­prox­i­mate­ly 150 me­tres can be seen pro­trud­ing from the up­per part of Ryugu. This is clear­ly vis­i­ble be­cause part of the sur­face is more re­flec­tive. This could in­di­cate dif­fer­ences in the com­po­si­tion of the sur­face ma­te­ri­al. The ONC was de­vel­oped and built un­der the lead­er­ship of JAXA in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tokyo, Kochi Uni­ver­si­ty, Rikkyo Uni­ver­si­ty, Nagoya Uni­ver­si­ty, Chi­ba In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, Mei­ji Uni­ver­si­ty, Aizu Uni­ver­si­ty and the Na­tion­al In­sti­tute of Ad­vanced In­dus­tri­al Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy (AIST) with con­tract­ed con­tri­bu­tions from the com­pa­ny NEC.


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Image 17/34, Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo & collaborators.
Hayabusa2 spacecraft with ion engines

Hayabusa2 space­craft with ion en­gines

June 26, 2018  The Japanese Hayabusa2 space­craft with the Ger­man-French Mo­bile As­ter­oid Sur­face Scout (MAS­COT) lan­der on board has com­plet­ed its 3200-mil­lion-kilo­me­tre jour­ney to as­ter­oid Ryugu.


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Image 18/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
Asteroid Ryugu aus rund 22 Kilometern Entfernung fotografiert

As­ter­oid Ryugu aus rund 22 Kilo­me­tern Ent­fer­nung fo­tografiert

June 27, 2018  Am 26. Ju­ni 2018 fo­tografierte die japanis­che Kam­eraONC-T (Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era - Tele­scop­ic) an Bord von Hayabusa2 den As­ter­oiden Ryugu noch vor der Ankun­ft aus 22 Kilo­me­tern Ent­fer­nung. Die ONC-Kam­era wurde unter der Leitung von JAXA en­twick­elt und gebaut in Zusam­me­nar­beit mit der Uni­ver­sität Tokyo, Kochi Uni­ver­sität, Rikkyo Uni­ver­sität, Nagoya Uni­ver­sität, Chi­ba In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, Mei­ji Uni­ver­sität, Aizu Uni­ver­sität und AIST sowie beauf­tragten Beiträ­gen der Fir­ma NEC.


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Image 19/34, Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University, AIST.
Asteroid Ryugu imaged from a distance of approximately 22 kilometres

As­ter­oid Ryugu im­aged from a dis­tance of ap­prox­i­mate­ly 22 kilo­me­tres

June 27, 2018  On 26 June 2018, the Japanese Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era – Tele­scop­ic (ONC-T) on board Hayabusa2 im­aged the as­ter­oid Ryugu from a dis­tance of ap­prox­i­mate­ly 22 kilo­me­tres, short­ly be­fore it ar­rived. The ONC was de­vel­oped and built un­der the lead­er­ship of JAXA in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tokyo, Kochi Uni­ver­si­ty, Rikkyo Uni­ver­si­ty, Nagoya Uni­ver­si­ty, Chi­ba In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, Mei­ji Uni­ver­si­ty, Aizu Uni­ver­si­ty and the Na­tion­al In­sti­tute of Ad­vanced In­dus­tri­al Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy (AIST) with con­tract­ed con­tri­bu­tions from the com­pa­ny NEC.


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Image 20/34, Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University, AIST.
Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT)

Mo­bile As­ter­oid Sur­face Scout (MAS­COT)

July 13, 2016  MAS­COT is a high­ly in­te­grat­ed as­ter­oid lan­der de­vel­oped by DLR in co­op­er­a­tion with CNES and JAXA.


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Image 21/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
MASCOT teamwork

MAS­COT team­work

November 27, 2014  A team at the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR) de­vel­oped, built and test­ed the MAS­COT as­ter­oid lan­der, which will trav­el to as­ter­oid 1999 JU3 on board the Japanese Hayabusa 2 space­craft.


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Image 22/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Integration of MASCOT

In­te­gra­tion of MAS­COT

September 28, 2012  DLR re­searchers are de­vel­op­ing MAS­COT, the Mo­bile As­ter­oid Sur­face Scout as­ter­oid lan­der. The lan­der will fly to as­ter­oid 1999 JU 3 on board the Japanese Hayabusa-2 space­craft.


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Image 23/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
MASCOT – preparations for flight

MAS­COT – prepa­ra­tions for flight

May 16, 2014  The MAS­COT as­ter­oid lan­der, de­vel­oped by the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR), is sched­uled to launch in De­cem­ber 2014 on board the Japanese Hayabusa 2 space­craft.


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Image 24/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
Giving MASCOT the finishing touches

Giv­ing MAS­COT the fin­ish­ing touch­es

November 27, 2014  En­gi­neers at the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR) as­sem­ble the MAS­COT as­ter­oid lan­der for the Japanese Hayabusa 2 space­craft.


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Image 25/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
MASCOT asteroid lander in microgravity

MAS­COT as­ter­oid lan­der in mi­cro­grav­i­ty

September 28, 2012  DLR re­searchers use parabol­ic flights to test the MAS­COT as­ter­oid lan­der's func­tions in mi­cro­grav­i­ty. MAS­COT is due to sep­a­rate from the Japanese Hayabusa-2 space­craft above as­ter­oid 1999 JU 3 and fall to the sur­face.


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Image 26/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Ready to go – Hayabusa 2 and MASCOT

Ready to go – Hayabusa 2 and MAS­COT

November 27, 2014  The Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR) will jour­ney to as­ter­oid 1999 JU3 on board the Japanese Hayabusa 2 space­craft. Orig­i­nal­ly sched­uled for launch at 05:24 CET on 30 Novem­ber 2014, the MAS­COT (Mo­bile As­ter­oid Sur­face Scout) as­ter­oid lan­der will now set off from Tane­gashima Space Cen­ter on board the Japanese or­biter Hayabusa 2 no ear­li­er than 1 De­cem­ber.


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Image 27/34, Credit: JAXA
Names and best wishes for MASCOT

Names and best wish­es for MAS­COT

November 27, 2014  3500 space fans sent their names and good wish­es to the DLR MAS­COT as­ter­oid lan­der, des­tined for as­ter­oid 1999 JU3. Two small foils with the names and mes­sages are at­tached to MAS­COT.


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Image 28/34, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
MASCOT launches from the Tanegashima Space Center

MAS­COT launch­es from the Tane­gashima Space Cen­ter

December 3, 2014  On 3 De­cem­ber 2014 at 05:22 CEST, an H IIA launch ve­hi­cle lift­ed off from the Tane­gashima Space Cen­ter and the Japanese Hayabusa 2 space­craft and its MAS­COT lan­der, de­vel­oped by DLR, be­gan their jour­ney to As­ter­oid 1999 JU3.


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Image 29/34, Credit: MHI Global
MASCOT's approach to Ryugu and its path across the surface

MAS­COT's ap­proach to Ryugu and its path across the sur­face

November 28, 2018  Af­ter MAS­COT had sep­a­rat­ed from its moth­er­craft, Hayabusa2's ONC (Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era) record­ing sys­tem, with its three cam­eras, be­gan fol­low­ing MAS­COT’s de­scent to the as­ter­oid Ryugu from a height of 51 me­tres. The im­age sec­tion is ori­ent­ed to the north, and the area shown is lo­cat­ed at ap­prox­i­mate­ly 300 de­grees east and 30 de­grees south. Hayabusa2’s shad­ow can be seen on the low­er right. At the time of the sep­a­ra­tion, it was about noon on Ryugu and the Sun was be­hind Hayabusa2 – the shad­ow is about six by 4.5 me­tres.The points in­di­cate the times at which Hayabusa2 ac­quired im­ages of MAS­COT. The times are in UTC (Co­or­di­nat­ed Uni­ver­sal Time, CEST mi­nus two hours), the first im­age was ac­quired at 01:59 and 40 sec­onds UTC (03:59:40 CEST). The yel­low line in­di­cates the lo­ca­tions at which MAS­COT was still de­scend­ing to­wards Ryugu and where it could be iden­ti­fied in the ONC pho­tos. The blue line be­low the yel­low line is the pro­jec­tion of these po­si­tions on­to the as­ter­oid sur­face – so this shows MAS­COT's flight route was rather straight, and the lan­der touched down on a large edgy block at around 02:23 and 24 sec­onds UTC. From there, the as­ter­oid lan­der hopped along the curved hor­i­zon­tal line to­wards the east-north­east and was then re­peat­ed­ly im­aged by the ONC. At around 02:14 and 04 min­utes UTC MAS­COT came to rest at its first lo­ca­tion on the as­ter­oid. Mean­while, Hayabusa2 as­cend­ed to a high­er ob­ser­va­tion po­si­tion over Ryugu, mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult to iden­ti­fy MAS­COT in the im­ages due to the low­er im­age res­o­lu­tion. On the sec­ond as­ter­oid day, MAS­COT's mo­bil­i­ty mech­a­nism was ac­ti­vat­ed. An­oth­er im­age will show the lan­der on 4 Oc­to­ber at 00:55 and nine sec­onds UTC.


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Image 30/34, Credit: JAXA/U Tokyo/Kochi U/Rikkyo U/Nagoya U/ Chiba Inst Tech/Meiji U/U Aizu/AIST.
Artist's impression of MASCOT during landing

MAS­COT de­scends on­to the as­ter­oid

November 28, 2018  Artist's im­pres­sion of MAS­COT dur­ing land­ing


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Image 31/34, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
MASCOT image pointing east while descending on Ryugu

MAS­COT im­age point­ing east while de­scend­ing on Ryugu

November 28, 2018  The sec­ond im­age of the DLR-de­vel­oped MAS­CAM cam­era is di­rect­ed oblique­ly down­ward on the as­ter­oid Ryugu and cov­ers ar­eas east of the de­scent route. The area cov­ered by MAS­CAM is marked as an open trape­zoid in the overview im­age of the wide-an­gle cam­era of the ONC (Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era) sys­tem of Hayabusa2. Com­pared with the first im­age, it is clear that MAS­COT moved tur­bu­lent­ly to­wards Ryugu, as ex­pect­ed, thus per­form­ing turns and rollovers.Both im­ages show a huge boul­der, which oc­cu­pies the east­ern (right) edge of the im­age in the MAS­CAM im­age and is sev­er­al tens of me­tres in length. On the bot­tom left is MAS­COT's shad­ow, which the Sun be­hind the land­ing probe is pro­ject­ing on­to the as­ter­oid sur­face: MAS­COT is 30 cen­time­tres long. Ryugu is a body with no at­mo­sphere, so the out­lines of MAS­COT (right) and Hayabusa2 (left) are sharp in the shad­ows pro­ject­ed on­to the as­ter­oid sur­face.


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Image 32/34, Credit: JAXA/U Tokyo/Kochi U/Rikkyo U/Nagoya U/ Chiba Inst Tech/Meiji U/U Aizu/AIST (links); MASCOT/DLR/JAXA (rechts).
Asteroid lander MASCOT on board the Hayabusa2 space probe

As­ter­oid lan­der MAS­COT on board the Hayabusa2 space probe

November 28, 2018  The Japanese Hayabusa2 space probe has com­plet­ed a 3200-mil­lion-kilo­me­tre long jour­ney car­ry­ing the Ger­man-French lan­der MAS­COT (Mo­bile As­ter­oid Sur­face Scout).


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Image 33/34, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
MASCOT's approach to Ryugu and its path across the surface

MAS­COT's ap­proach to Ryugu and its path across the sur­face

November 28, 2018  Af­ter MAS­COT had sep­a­rat­ed from its moth­er­craft, Hayabusa2's ONC (Op­ti­cal Nav­i­ga­tion Cam­era) record­ing sys­tem, with its three cam­eras, be­gan fol­low­ing MAS­COT’s de­scent to the as­ter­oid Ryugu from a height of 51 me­tres. The im­age sec­tion is ori­ent­ed to the north, and the area shown is lo­cat­ed at ap­prox­i­mate­ly 300 de­grees east and 30 de­grees south. Hayabusa2’s shad­ow can be seen on the low­er right. At the time of the sep­a­ra­tion, it was about noon on Ryugu and the Sun was be­hind Hayabusa2 – the shad­ow is about six by 4.5 me­tres.The points in­di­cate the times at which Hayabusa2 ac­quired im­ages of MAS­COT. The times are in UTC (Co­or­di­nat­ed Uni­ver­sal Time, CEST mi­nus two hours), the first im­age was ac­quired at 01:59 and 40 sec­onds UTC (03:59:40 CEST). The yel­low line in­di­cates the lo­ca­tions at which MAS­COT was still de­scend­ing to­wards Ryugu and where it could be iden­ti­fied in the ONC pho­tos. The blue line be­low the yel­low line is the pro­jec­tion of these po­si­tions on­to the as­ter­oid sur­face – so this shows MAS­COT's flight route was rather straight, and the lan­der touched down on a large edgy block at around 02:23 and 24 sec­onds UTC. From there, the as­ter­oid lan­der hopped along the curved hor­i­zon­tal line to­wards the east-north­east and was then re­peat­ed­ly im­aged by the ONC. At around 02:14 and 04 min­utes UTC MAS­COT came to rest at its first lo­ca­tion on the as­ter­oid. Mean­while, Hayabusa2 as­cend­ed to a high­er ob­ser­va­tion po­si­tion over Ryugu, mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult to iden­ti­fy MAS­COT in the im­ages due to the low­er im­age res­o­lu­tion. On the sec­ond as­ter­oid day, MAS­COT's mo­bil­i­ty mech­a­nism was ac­ti­vat­ed. An­oth­er im­age will show the lan­der on 4 Oc­to­ber at 00:55 and nine sec­onds UTC.


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Image 34/34, Credit: JAXA/U Tokyo/Kochi U/Rikkyo U/Nagoya U/ Chiba Inst Tech/Meiji U/U Aizu/AIST.

The aim of the Hayabusa2 mission is to learn more about the origin and evolution of the Solar System. As asteroids account for some of the most primordial celestial bodies, researching them gives us a glimpse into our cosmic past.

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