MINERVA (MIcro/Nano Experimental Robot Vehicle for Asteroid) is a small robot lander
|These cameras are installed at 5 cm height from its bottom. Two of the cameras make
up a stereo pair that is capable of looking at distance from 10 to 50 cm. The pair can
observe the detailed surface conditions at the landing area of MINERVA. A camera that
can see further away is installed on the other side. It will observe more distant regions
of the surface and can operate while hopping.
Using the onboard camera of HAYABUSA, the best image surface resolution of ITOKAWA
was 30 m during the global mapping phase and will be 1 A 2 cm during the touchdown
operation. On the other hand, the cameras on MINERVA have a image resolution of less
than 1 mm when they observe 10 cm distance objects and can observe minerals making
up a rock. Moreover, MINERVA can investigate the size of regolith grains covering the
surface of ITOKAWA.
Among pins attached to the top and the bottom of MINERVA, six are thermal sensors
which measure the surface temperature of ITOAKAWA. From temperature variation data,
we will be able to tell whether the surface of ITOKAWA is rich in sands or rocks.