You might believe that MASCOT’s mission failed, but it actually was successful. This week, MASCOT had to land on the asteroid Ryugu and conduct its mission for 16 hours. Because it had non-rechargeable batteries, it wasn’t made to survive more than that.
“Check this out! I took this picture when I was almost on #Ryugu’s surface. Look at how sunlight is reflected off me. What a dark surface!” – wrote the MASCOT team on Twitter.
However, the robot even lasted over 17 hours, added the team:
“All done with work! Oh my … can that be right? I explored Ryugu for more than 17 hours. That is more than my team expected. Do I get paid overtime for this? #asteroidlanding.”
Seeing that the robot still had enough “stamina,” the team explored the asteroid more:
“And during this extra time, I also made another hop and explored part of a third asteroid day! But the best thing is: I sent ALL the data I collected to @haya2kun! Now, team, it’s up to YOU to understand Ryugu. #AsteroidLanding.”
This lander was meant to explore Ryugu, and it was created by an international team of scientists from Germany and France. If you were wondering, it is the size of a shoebox!
MASCOT was deployed by the Japanese Hayabusa2 after it sent two rovers a month ago to the surface of the asteroid. It was designed to gather as much data as it could over the course of 16 hours – which is about two days on the asteroid’s surface (the rock completes a full rotation in about 7 hours).
Right before MASCOT’s battery got completely drained, all the data gathered by four instruments it had aboard was sent to the mothership Hayabusa2, which in turn, sent the data to Earth. Scientists are now analyzing the information and learning more about what Ryugu is made of, and figuring out how the solar system was formed.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.