AKATSUKI (PLANET-C) is the next planetary exploration project for the Martian orbiter NOZOMI. This project's main purpose is to elucidate the mysteries of the Venusian atmosphere. Though often referred to as Earth's sister planet in terms of size and mass, Venus is actually very different. It is veiled in carbon dioxide, with a high temperature and thick sulfuric-acid clouds. Clarification of the causes for this environment will provide us with clues to the understanding of the birth of Earth and of its climate changes. Therefore, Venus is a very important subject for exploration.
|International Designation code||2010-020D|
|Objectives||Venus is the closest planet to the earth and is known as the "morning star" or "evening star." Venus is sometimes referred to as Earth's sister planet because of its similarity to the Earth in size and mass, but its climate is very different. Venus has a massive CO2 atmosphere which is extremely hot due to the greenhouse effect and is covered by sulfuric acid clouds.
There is no liquid water on the surface of Venus. The elucidation of the climate system of Venus will provide us with clues to explain how such a diversity of planetary environments has evolved in the solar system.
The Venus Climate Orbiter (PLANET-C project) aims to unravel the mysteries of Venus with an emphasis on atmospheric dynamics. State-of-the-art optical instruments will enable us to explore the deep atmosphere and the ground surface below the thick cloud layer.
|Launch Date||06:58, May 21, 2010 (JST)|
|Launch Location||Tanegashima Space Center (Minamitane-machi, Kagoshima prefecture)|
|Weight||500 kg (including fuel)|
|Shape||Approx. 1.5m x 1.0m x 1.4m
5.1m long from end to end of solar array paddles
|Orbital Altitude||PeriVenus: 1,000-10,000km
|Type of Orbit||Elliptical around Venus|
|Orbital Period||10.8 days|
|Scientific Instruments(Planned)||1.1-µm camera (IR1)
2.2-µm camera (IR2)
3.Longwave IR camera (LIR)
4.Ultraviolet imager (UVI)
5.Lightning and airglow camera (LAC)
6.Ultra-stable oscillator (USO/Radio Science)