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Hayabusa 2 captures newest image of Ryugu asteroid

The image of Ryugu captured by Hayabusa 2 from about 920 kilometers away from the asteroid. (Photo courtesy of JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) revealed the latest image of asteroid Ryugu captured by its explorer Hayabusa 2 on June 14. The Hayabusa 2 is scheduled to come within roughly 20 kilometers from the asteroid around June 27.

    The image was taken on June 13 from approximately 920 kilometers from Ryugu. The asteroid appears to be roundish with some rugged features. It is estimated to be about 1 kilometer in diameter.

    Hayabusa 2 was about 700 kilometers from Ryugu as of June 14, and is approaching the asteroid at a speed of about 1.7 meters per second. Makoto Yoshikawa, JAXA associate professor and the mission manager of the Hayabusa 2 project, said, "The shape and size (of the asteroid) is about the same as our estimates. We are really looking forward to watching it up close."

    (Japanese original by Tomohiro Ikeda, Science & Environment News Departmet)

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