Saturday, May 22, 2010
Japan Venus Mission
TOKYO — Japan launched a new spacecraft Friday on a two-year mission to study the planet Venus and its climate.
A rocket carrying the Venus climate orbiter called "Akatsuki" blasted off from a Japanese space center in Kagoshima, southern Japan, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said. Akatsuki means "dawn" in Japanese.
Akatsuki is expected to reach Venus' orbit in December. The orbiter will circle the planet for two years to examine its climate, including clouds, temperature and wind power, the agency said.
The development cost of Akatsuki was around 25 billion yen ($280 million).
The Venus mission follows Japan's first lunar probe, which completed a 19-month mission last year. The lunar project was to create a detailed map of the moon's surface and examine its mineral distribution.
Japan launched its first satellite in 1970 and has achieved several major scientific coups in space, including the launch of a probe that made a rendezvous with an asteroid.
I didn't do the chart for the blast off...but I know the sun was in gemini and the moon was in square. Venus of course in opposition to Pluto...I dunno, it reminded me of something I heard a long, long, long time ago from someone who worked for (or said he did) NSA---he told me a very long story about a satellite going by Venus and it was destroyed by something from Venus. I was young when I heard this story, but it did make me wonder about ol' venus. Let's hope nothing destroys this satellite.