The Japanese Hayabusa2 Mission launched in December 2014 and reached its target near Earth asteroid (162173) Ryugu in June 2018. Hayabusa2’s aim is to investigate the origin and evolution of our Solar System by visiting a carbonaceous asteroid, one of the most primitive celestial bodies and by returning samples from this object to Earth.
Hayabusa2 is equipped with a variety of novel and exciting experiments and instruments including remote sensing cameras and spectrometers, deployable cameras, an impact experiment, a surface scout and a sample return capsule. The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) is a lander built by DLR in collaboration with the French space agency CNES. It possesses four instruments (a camera, a radiometer, a magnetometer and a spectrometer) and a hopping mechanism that allowed MASCOT to move on the surface of Ryugu. On 3rd October 2018 MASCOT landed on Ryugu operated for over 17 hours on the asteroid’s surface. It returned fascinating data from the surface of Ryugu that are evaluated by the Institute of Planetary Research. More information on Mascot and the returned data can be found here.