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Akatsuki enters orbit, set for two-year mission

In June, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa probe captured samples from the asteroid Itokawa and with the help of NASA and three American teens, landed successfully in Australia. 

Although Japan has never attempted a manned flight, in 1970 it was the first Asian nation to put a satellite in orbit around the Earth.

Now the country's first ever probe to reach a planet is attempting to orbit Venus for a two-year mission.  

According to Japan's space agency, the Planet-C Venus Climate Orbiter (also called Akatsuki, which means dawn), had lost contact with the ground crew. While Akatsuki is struggling in its attempt, scientists anticipate that it will be successfully injected.

This would be the first time that Japan has achieved this effort.  In 1998, the Nozomi Mars mission experienced technical difficulties while attempting to place probes in orbit around Mars.  

JAXA launched the Akatsuki probe in May. The meteorological satellite is expected to monitor weather patterns on the planet. 

Equipped with infrared cameras, the 25 billion yen ($300 million USB) project is designed to track volcanic activity, determine whether the planet has lightning, provide data on cloud cover and climate, and monitor the intensity of surface winds (which scientists believe can reach speeds of up to 220 miles per hour).  Called super-rotation, the winds blow in the same direction the planet rotates, but are 60 times faster according to mission project scientist, Takeshi Imamura.

More information about the Akatsuki probe and its impending journey can be found on the JAXA website or via updates on Twitter.


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Russia is in Asia
By CZroe on 12/7/2010 9:07:03 PM , Rating: 4
"Although Japan has never attempted a manned flight, in 1970 it was the first Asian nation to put a satellite in orbit around the Earth."

So, the USSR was not an Asian nation? Russia is in Asia.

RE: Russia is in Asia
By Chudilo on 12/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Russia is in Asia
By estaffer on 12/8/2010 12:51:48 AM , Rating: 4
it's both.

RE: Russia is in Asia
By CZroe on 12/8/2010 3:17:09 AM , Rating: 2
In reference to Russia: "It extends across the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe."

Asia is so large that most consider it a continent. Russia occupies and spans the entire length of this "continent" of Asia extending into "Eurasia," yet you don't consider it to exist in Asia? What geography are you learning? Just where do you consider it to be? Are you going to tell me that Guam and Hawaii mean that the US isn't "in" North America or The Americas?

Baikonur Cosmodrome is located in Kazakhstan, which is "located in Central Asia and Eastern Europe." Specifically, it is east of the Caspian, which is what most consider to be Asia. Other cosmodromes are even more firmly in Russia, so I'm not sure why you only mention one. And why are you bringing that up at all? The original quote was about the region of the nation that sent it, not specifically where they sent it from. Even if they launched them from Cuba and never anywhere else, it still would have been an Asian nation putting a satellite in orbit around the Earth. Period.

RE: Russia is in Asia
By Targon on 12/8/2010 4:02:07 AM , Rating: 3
If you want to argue semantics, since Russia extends beyond the boundaries of Asia, it is not technically an "Asian country", in the sense that Russia as a whole is not confined by Asia.

A country that extends from western Europe into eastern Europe would not be considered either a Western European or Eastern European nation, since it exists partially in both.

RE: Russia is in Asia
By wordsworm on 12/8/2010 4:39:47 AM , Rating: 2
I think the original poster was simply saying that the USSR was the first country in space, and that it is in Asia. This is true. That it was (and as Russia *is*) also in Europe does not change this fact.

RE: Russia is in Asia
By GuinnessKMF on 12/8/2010 8:49:04 AM , Rating: 2
I would say it's the other way around, Russia may not be wholly confined by Asia, but is an Asian country.

So when asked what is Russia, you would have to say it's a Eurasian country, but if asked if Russia was an Asian country, you would say yes, and if asked if it was a European country, you would say yes.

A good example is nationalities, if you have dual citizenship in GB and America, and you visited Mars, you would be the first American on Mars. You would also be the first Brit on Mars.

RE: Russia is in Asia
By 91TTZ on 12/8/2010 10:17:28 AM , Rating: 2
If you want to argue semantics, you could also make the point that most of Japan isn't in Asia, either; it could be considered a Pacific island. Most of it is a chain of volcanos sitting on the sea floor, similar to Hawaii, Guam, etc.

Also, if you're going to say that Russia isn't an Asian country because part of it is in Europe, could you also say that the USA is not a North American country because part of it (Hawaii) is a Pacific Island?

RE: Russia is in Asia
By wordsworm on 12/21/2010 12:04:29 PM , Rating: 2
Russia occupies more of Asia than China does. Japan is on the Asian continent. Go check Google Earth to verify.

RE: Russia is in Asia
By 91TTZ on 12/8/2010 9:53:53 AM , Rating: 1
Before you further embarrass yourself, I need to inform you that Russia does, in fact, lie in both Europe and Asia. It touches China, Mongolia, and North Korea.

RE: Russia is in Asia
By thrust2night on 12/13/2010 2:18:04 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe he likes embarrassing himself. Did you think about that?

RE: Russia is in Asia
By Stuka on 12/8/2010 12:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
I believe the key in this case is that the political epicenter and global focal point of the USSR and now Russia lies within Europe.

RE: Russia is in Asia
By congokit on 12/8/2010 10:21:55 PM , Rating: 3
"Although Japan has never attempted a manned flight, in 1970 it was the first Asian nation to put a satellite in orbit around the Earth."

I think he meant to say that Japan was the first nation that eats with chopsticks to put a satellite in orbit.

World Domination
By Raraniel on 12/7/2010 6:26:31 PM , Rating: 5
Upon reaching Venus, it will begin its 5 year mission to unite the tailed demons and achieve world domination.

RE: World Domination
By iGo on 12/7/2010 6:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
And here I was wondering why there is no Naruto reference yet. :P

RE: World Domination
By Reclaimer77 on 12/7/2010 8:55:55 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to write a Pokemon collect 'em all joke, but it's just too easy...

RE: World Domination
By Howard on 12/8/2010 2:07:15 AM , Rating: 2
RE: World Domination
By Cr0nJ0b on 12/8/2010 12:29:49 PM , Rating: 2
great reference to Naruto +1

$300 million USB?
By ShaolinSoccer on 12/7/2010 5:50:30 PM , Rating: 2
Shouldn't that say USD?

RE: $300 million USB?
By KayDat on 12/7/2010 6:04:43 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe it cost 1394 IEEE instead. ;]

By chagrinnin on 12/8/10, Rating: 0
RE: So...
By Paj on 12/8/2010 7:46:47 AM , Rating: 1
BOOM! Hahah oh man thats classic. Somebody 6 this man!

RE: So...
By chagrinnin on 12/9/2010 1:32:38 AM , Rating: 1
Somebody took that a li'l too personal. No offense meant. "Myanus" just wasn't as funny. :P

By hughlle on 12/8/2010 6:03:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well i don't know, it didn't slow down enough and missed orbit and is currently orbiting around the sun and won't be back at venus for another 6 years....

But it didn't enter orbit...
By flyboy84 on 12/8/2010 8:27:53 AM , Rating: 2
JAXA, Japan’s space agency, has announced that their mission to Venus, Akatsuki, did not succeed in entering orbit as planned on December 6.

By AnnihilatorX on 12/9/2010 4:21:13 AM , Rating: 2
A moot comment.
Akatsuki literally means Red Moon.
I'd have thought would be a more appropriate name for a mars probe hmmm.

By DoeBoy on 12/7/2010 7:42:39 PM , Rating: 1
O NO.. its that damn Godzirra again.. he strikes back!

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