New photos taken on the surface of an asteroid show that it is (drumroll, please) … rocky.
It may be no surprise, but Japan space agency scientists and engineers are nonetheless thrilled by the images being sent to Earth by two jumping robotic rovers that they dropped onto an asteroid about 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) away.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency posted the latest photos on its website late Thursday. They show slightly tilted close-ups of the rocky surface from different locations.
It took more than three years for the unmanned Hayabusa2 spacecraft to reach the vicinity of asteroid Ryugu. One week ago, the craft successfully dropped a small capsule with two rovers onto its surface. The rovers don’t have wheels but jump around the asteroid.