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Will Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft's lander or rovers successfully land on the asteroid Ryugu?
The Hayabusa2 mission is on course to meet up with the 900 meter wide asteroid known as Ryugu in the imminent future. What will this rendezvous bring? Hopefully, some good "Science!" with a capital "S".
The spacecraft, which launched in 2014, is set to arrive at the 3,000-foot-wide (900 meters) asteroid on or around June 27. After arriving, the probe will drop three rovers and a lander onto the space rock's surface to explore and grab samples. The newest asteroid views reveal that Ryugu is a world of dramatic angles, covered with dents and craters, rotating in the opposite direction that Earth and the sun are as the object orbits.
Cool pictures of Ryugu are here.
The craft is loaded with equipment that – if all goes well – will dock with the asteroid. And there are multiple chances of success. (If one rover falters, for instance, there are backups.)
Then again, any space mission is fraught. We all remember what happened to the Philae probe, which journeyed over 300M miles from home only to conk out on its destination comet.
Will at least one of Hayabusa2's rovers or lander touch down on Ryugu and send at least one picture from the surface?
To keep it sporting, question will retroactively close 1 hour prior to the first landing attempt.
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