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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Japanese mini-rovers send back their first images as they hop around an asteroid

• https://finance.yahoo.com, by Alan Boyle

The pictures are blurry because they were taken while the rovers were falling and hopping around the half-mile-wide asteroid, more than 180 million miles from Earth.

As fuzzy as they are, the photos represent a huge victory for the $150 million Hayabusa 2 mission, which was launched nearly four years ago to get an unprecedented look at the surface of an asteroid.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency first tried to put a rover on the surface of an asteroid more than a decade ago, during a mission to a space rock called Itokawa. That part of the mission fizzled, however, when the MINERVA rover carrier missed the mark and sailed off into interplanetary space.

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