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Scientists obtain images of Venus taken by AKATSUKI spacecraft

Images of Venus acquiring by AKATSUKI. A JAXA photo

TOKYO (BNS): Even as scientists at Japan’s space agency JAXA are probing the causes AKATSUKI’s failure to enter Venus’s orbit last week, they have obtained images of the neighbouring planet taken by the spacecraft.

The spacecraft, which could not get injected into Venus’s orbit on December 8 as per plans and shot itself down before the endeavour, had taken the planet’s images on December 9.

The images have been acquired from the spacecraft’s long wave infrared camera (LIR), ultraviolet imager (UVI), and 1 micron camera (IR1), JAXA said.

The images were taken from a distance of 0.6 million km with an angular size of about 1.2 degree, the space agency said.

Japan had launched AKATSUKI, meaning ‘dawn’, on May 21, 2010 on a two year mission to study Venus’s atmosphere and establish its meteorology.

Not left with enough fuel to turn around, AKATSUKI has now settled into an orbit near the Sun. JAXA may again try for another orbital insertion around Venus when the spacecraft returns to Venus in six years.



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