Craft will study weather on Venus
December 7th, 2010
09:15 AM ET

Craft will study weather on Venus

Japan's Akatsuki probe was to enter orbit around Venus on Tuesday to study the planet's weather.

The Japanese space agency had trouble re-establishing communication with the craft after it swung behind the planet, but that problem was resolved, Stephen Clark of Spaceflightnow.com reported.

The agency still hasn't determined whether the probe has settled into the proper orbit, according to Clark.

The spacecraft, which was launched six months ago, is to gather data on a Venusian wind pattern called super-rotation. These winds blow in the same direction the planet rotates but go 60 times faster, according to Takeshi Imamura, the mission's project scientist.

"Akatsuki will investigate why this mysterious phenomenon occurs," Imamura wrote on the website of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.

The refrigerator-sized probe will also study the sulfuric acid that envelops the planet and will look for lightning.

Akatsuki's five cameras will build 3-D images and maps of Venus' atmosphere, the first time that's been done on any planet other than Earth, Imamura wrote.

A near-infrared camera will be able to peer through the murky atmosphere to get a glimpse of the planet's surface.

"In addition to studying meteorological phenomena, we might be able to see whether Venus has any active volcanoes," Imamura wrote.

Akatsuki, whose name means "dawn," will observe Venus for two years, according to JAXA.

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Filed under: Japan • Space
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Universe Man

    What about Uranus?

    December 7, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. The Red Shuttle ... http://x.co/Ka0w

    .
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    with over 300 °C on surface it's excellent for an holyday trip 🙂 ... http://x.co/L84R
    .
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    .
    .

    December 7, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Universe Man

      What's the weather like this time of year on Uranus?

      December 7, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Godzilla

    So it's really far away in space? I'm safe?
    (whew!)
    I thought they were gonna shove that thing right up my ......!
    I swam over here faster than I've ever swam before! (wrings out tail)

    December 7, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Universe Man

      Uranus?

      December 7, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Richard in Texas

    Where are all of the anti science people ? John JJ? Anything about how science is absoutely sure the planets exsists but really don't know anything and are probably wrong about them ?

    December 7, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Universe Man

      In Uranus?

      December 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. UniversalExtinction

    A person can only take so much. Your science will be the linchpin of your demise. Hope it was worth it. 🙂

    December 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Universe Man

      But not on Uranus.

      December 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Frank

    Todays Venusian Forcast;
    UV tanning index;10,000
    Partly sunny skies with a chance of sulfuric rain.
    Temp; 1100>1800 F.
    Volcanic lava flow tides; High flowing at 60>120 MPH.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Universe Man

      What are the lava tides like on Uranus today?

      December 7, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. wondering

    Is it coincidence the satellite goes into orbit at the date and time of the attack on Pearl Harbor in1941?

    December 7, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cesar

    @Universe Man. Uranus was discovered by W-""-*. Herschell in the 1700's. Uranus has an axil inclination of 90 degrees.

    December 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cesar

    @Universe Man. Uranus has ice, hydrogen, and a little helium'

    December 8, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cesar

    @Universe Man. Uranus has bands of clouds that blow. Uranus is barely visible.

    December 8, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cesar

    @Universe Man. Uranus is blue.

    December 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cesar

    @Universe Man. I don't know about any lava in Uranus.

    December 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cesar

    @Universe Man. Why would Uranus have hot lava anyway?

    December 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cesar

    @Universe Man. My favorite planet is Neptune. What is yours? Do you like Uranus the most?

    December 8, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar

    @Universe Man. Maybe one day you can go into outer space and then on Jupiter take pictures. Then go travel onto Uranus and just sit on Uranus.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |