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Queen guitarist May sends video for Japan's Hayabusa2 asteroid explorer

A video message from Brian May is seen in Sagamihara, southwest of Tokyo, on Feb. 22, 2019. (Mainichi/Etsuko Nagayama)

SAGAMIHARA -- Brian May, the guitarist for rock group Queen, who is also known as an astronomer, sent a video message to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) expressing his support of the Hayabusa2's probe of the asteroid Ryugu ahead of its touchdown on the celestial body.

The space probe successfully touched down on Ryugu on Feb. 22 and the JAXA released the video message to the press the same day.

May is involved in the observation of bodies such as asteroids, which have the potential to hurtle toward Earth. He is among those who recommended establishing Asteroid Day on June 30 to learn about asteroids and how to protect Earth. When Hayabusa2 first arrived near Ryugu, he made a 3-D image of the asteroid and unveiled it to the public.

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The text of May's video message follows below:

Konnichi wa. This is Brian May, and I am very honored to be speaking to you beautiful people of Hayabusa2 on this very auspicious occasion.

I have a long history with Japan as many of you will know, and Queen, my group, has had a long love affair with the Japanese people, from the days when we first came and Queen was a hit with the young people in Japan, right up to the present day, when our "Bohemian Rhapsody" film has absolutely triggered a cultural phenomenon, and we are so happy and so honored that we have this contact. But I have also been following Japanese astronomy, and Japanese astro endeavors. I was looking at Hayabusa1, the mission to Itokawa, from a distance, and happy to find some images that I could make into stereos.

Now, I'm hugely happy to be, in a sense, part of the Hayabusa family, because I've been able to process some images from Ryugu, and this has been a thrill, and it's a labor of love for me to be able to contribute something.

So I'm here to wish you absolutely the best of luck in this incredibly delicate maneuver, to touch down on Ryugu. I can't wait to see it happen. I know it will be a wonderful success. My heart is with you, and give us more 3-D and give us more astro adventure. We love you, Hayabusa2.

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(Japanese original by Etsuko Nagayama, Opinion Group)

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