Look! Up in the sky! It’s a dumpling … It’s a “Star Trek” Borg cube … It’s the asteroid Ryugu!
Our view of Ryugu, a half-mile-wide space rock nearly 180 million miles from Earth, is coming into sharper focus with the approach of the Japanese probe Hayabusa 2.
Three and a half years after its launch, the spacecraft is now within 35 miles of the asteroid, closing in on what’s expected to be a standoff orbital distance of 12 miles. The pictures that it’s been sending back throughout the approach provide enough detail to reveal Ryugu’s blocky shape.