On 3 December 2014, the Japanese space probe Hayabusa2 embarked on a sample return mission to asteroid (162173) Ryugu (formerly designated 1999 JU3). On board is the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT), a lander built by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt; DLR) in collaboration with the French space agency CNES. 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. Furthermore, Ryugu is a near-Earth asteroid, which means it could pose a threat to Earth and must be investigated in order to reduce this threat.
MASCOT Lander auf Twitter
Blog about MASCOT on board Hayabusa2.
Flickr gallery - MASCOT/Hayabusa2 animation stills
Starting on 10 July 2018, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be staging a newly designed exhibition on the current Hayabusa2 and MASCOT mission in the Untere Rathaushalle (ground floor) of Bremen's town hall. The Japanese space probe Hayabusa2 recently reached the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu on 27 June 2018.
On 6 July 2018 at 03:15 CEST (01:15 UTC), it was time. The team at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) MASCOT Control Center in Cologne received the first signals from the German-French asteroid lander MASCOT upon its arrival at the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu.
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.