While Japan’s Minerva II hopper rovers got there first, at IAC 2018 the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) was celebrating the landing success of the German-French Mobile Asteroid Surface SCouT (MASCOT) lander on 3 October.

Having been dropped off by the Hayabusa 2 mother ship, the 10kg MASCOT landed on the 800m-wide Ryugu at 0217 GMT and transmitted data and imagery from the surface – including durin two more reaction-wheel-induced hops after an initial flip to get it the right way up. The battery powered spacecraft stopped transmitting at 1904 GMT, two hours later than its originally planned 15-hour operational lifespan on surface. The 20 x 30 x 30cm MASCOT carried 3kg of instruments, including a magnetometer, radiometer, microscope and camera.

The DLR laboratories proudly show off a 3D display of how the MASCOT lander fell towards the asteroid surface. Courtesy: Seradata/David Todd