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Tiny space rover shoots majestic movie on asteroid's surface

J.J. Abrams will love the lens flare captured by JAXA's Hayabusa 2 mission.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

This artist's illustration depicts the Minerva rovers on the asteroid surface.


What makes a movie great? Dialogue, plot, settings, drama. Or you can just shoot a short on an asteroid. 

Japan's Hayabusa 2 mission successfully deployed two Minerva robotic rovers to the surface of an asteroid named Ryugu over the weekend. Japan's space agency JAXA sent back pictures, but now we have a 15-frame-long movie courtesy of Rover-1B.

"Enjoy 'standing' on the surface of this asteroid!" JAXA wrote in a Thursday tweet.

Director J.J. Abrams will be envious of the movie's impressive sun-lit lens flare, which rotates across the scene. The asteroid's rocky surface is visible in the bottom half of the frame. 

JAXA released a host of images from the asteroid over the last few days, including the highest-resolution Ryugu surface image yet. The views show an inhospitable-looking environment covered in rocks and boulders.

Hayabusa 2 arrived at its asteroid target in June. This is a sequel to the original Hayabusa mission, which returned a sample of an asteroid back to Earth in 2010. 

Hayabusa 2 hopes to pull off the same feat as the original mission. If all goes as planned, it will bring back a bit of Ryugu in late 2020.

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