Japan’s Akatsuki probe fails to enter Venus orbit
Posted by Xeno on December 8, 2010
Japan’s first space probe bound for Venus has failed to enter the planet’s orbit, the country’s space agency says.
The space craft, Akatsuki, is believed to have passed Venus after it failed to slow down sufficiently.
Akatsuki, launched about 200 days ago, fired its main engine just before 0000 GMT on Monday to allow the planet’s gravity to capture the probe.
A previous interplanetary space probe launched by Japan in 1998 to orbit Mars was also a failure.
Akatsuki briefly lost contact but was now back in communication and functioning normally as it headed off around the sun, officials said.
“Unfortunately, it did not attain an orbit,” said Hitoshi Soeno of the space agency, Jaxa.
“But it appears to be functioning and we may be able to try again when it passes by Venus six years from now.”
The failure was disappointing for the 200,000 names carried by the craft in a bid to raise awareness of Japan’s space programme.
Akatsuki was launched to the inner-world by an H-IIA rocket in May. Its goals included finding definitive evidence for lightning and for active volcanoes. …
Here are some shots of the surface of Venus from the Russians.
Venera 13 Lander images of the surface of Venus. The lander touched down at 7.5 S, 303 E, east of Phoebe Regio, on 1 March, 1982. It survived on the surface for 2 hours, 7 minutes. These pictures were taken from its two opposite-facing cameras. The top image is a black and white frame of the color image vg261_262. The bottom frame shows the lander testing arm. The surface is made up of flat, platy rocks and soil. Parts of the lander and semi-circular lens covers can be seen in both images. (Venera 13 Lander, YG06847)
October, 1975 – Soviet Venera 9 and 10 send the first pictures of the Venusian surface to Earth. – spacetimeline