Friday, October 23, 2009

Japan's Planet-C/Akatsuki

Japan has just announced a name for its forthcoming 2010 Venus orbiter. The spacecraft will be called "Akatsuki," meaning Dawn.

This is a clever mission that will focus on the super rotation of Venus' atmosphere. While the solid body of Venus rotates very slowly (243 Earth days), the atmosphere itself rotates very quickly and circumnavigates the globe in 4 to 5 days. This mismatch has lots of scientific implications, which are nicely summarized on the science background tab of JAXA's Akatsuki web page (


Mission webpage:

An earliers summary on this blog:

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