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Japan's Hayabusa2 Asteroid Ryugu Sample-Return Mission in Pictures

Asteroid Ryugu

JAXA

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft captured this view of the asteroid Ryugu from approximately 4 miles (6 kilometers) away on July 20, 2018, at 3 a.m. EDT (0700 GMT).

Close-up Look at Sites on Asteroid Ryugu

JAXA/DLR

A close-up look at the sites L07, L08 and M04 on the asteroid Ryugu.

Ryugu in 3D!

Brian May, Yoshiro Yamada/JAXA

A stereo image of the asteroid Ryugu designed to be viewed with red/blue glasses.

Asteroid Ryugu Up Close

JAXA, University of Tokyo, Koichi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST.

Using its Optical Navigation Camera – Telescopic, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft captured this view of the asteroid Ryugu from about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away on Aug. 7, 2018.

A Clearer View

JAXA

This is one of Hayabusa2's early, clear views of asteroid Ryugu during its approach to the space rock.

Asteroid Ryugu animation

JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST

A rotating view of Ryugu captured by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft between June 14 and June 15, 2018.

Ryugu

JAXA, University of Tokyo, Koichi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST.

An image of asteroid Ryugu taken from about 1 km away by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft's Optical Navigation Camera – Wide Angle on Aug. 7, 2018. The red frame shows the range imaged by the telescopic camera (the image below in this story).

Asteroid Ryugu

JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft took these images of the asteroid Ryugu on June 17-18, 2018, during the probe's approach to the rocky body. The large, visible crater is about 650 feet (200 meters) across. The asteroid rotates perpendicular to its orbit and takes 7.5 hours to spin all the way around. (These images have been smoothed, and the light and dark regions are emphasized.)

Asteroid Ryugu

JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST

Raw images taken of the asteroid Ryugu on June 17-18, 2018, when the Hayabusa2 spacecraft traveled from 200 to 150 miles (330 to 240 km) away from the object.

How Japan's Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Mission Works (Infographic)

By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

Hayabusa2, the second in Japan's Hayabusa mission series, will drop probes on and take samples from asteroid 1999 JU3. See how the Hayabusa2 asteroid sample-return mission works in this Space.com infographic.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.