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The Forefront of Space Science


March 23 updated

Space Gas Vortices Carrying Source Particles of Aurora / Hiroshi HASEGAWA - Research Associate, Research Division for Space Plasma, ISAS -

The Aurora shinning in the night sky is generated by high-speed charged particles entering the earth’s atmosphere. These charged particles originate from the solar wind. This article outlines the latest research and new discoveries regarding solar wind and the earth’s magnetosphere, and introduces a future plan for formation-flight observation by multiple satellites.

(ISAS News: December 2006 issue)

January 24 updated

Space Inflatable Structures / Ken HIGUCHI - Associate Prof., Department of Space Structure and Materials, ISAS -

Inflatable structures, a typical example of which is the Tokyo Dome, have many advantages, such as the provision of a large space, light weight and few mechanical components. These features are also effective and advantageous in space. This article outlines technologies for the three processes - deployment, inflation and curing - required to build the structure and also introduces future applications in space.

(ISAS News: November 2007 issue)

February 9 updated

Development of Lightning Discharge Observation - From the Troposphere to the Upper Atmosphere and on Planets - / Yukihiro TAKAHASHI - Lecturer, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University -

Lightning is a very common luminous phenomenon to us, but still has many unsolved mysteries. This article outlines the latest observations of and research into lightning, and introduces an observation plan of the solar system’s planetary atmosphere with a space telescope now under planning.

(ISAS News: October 2006 issue)

December 13 updated

Next Space VLBI Mission VSOP-2 by HALCA / Hisashi HIRABAYASHI - Manager of Next Space VLBI Working Group, ISAS -

The VSOP mission with HALCA achieved a number of remarkable results. The follow-on mission, VSOP-2 by ASTRO-G satellite, was approved as ISAS’s 25th scientific satellite project. With significant improvements in performance, the VSOP-2 will challenge uncharted areas in astronomy.

(ISAS News: September 2006 issue)

November 07 updated

Encouraging Analog Integrated Circuitry / Hirokazu IKEDA - Professor, Spacecraft Engineering Department, ISAS -

Though digital circuits are dominant today, analog circuits remain important for space systems. The further spread of analog circuitry, however, is hampered by non-standardized design, etc. This article introduces an approach to overcome the situation by establishing an Open-IP scheme to spread analog circuitry utilization and raise their technological level.

(ISAS News: August 2006 issue)

November 20 updated

Mysteries of Comets and the Solar System revealed by the Deep Impact mission / Seiji SUGITA - Associate Professor, Department of Complexity Science and Engineering, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, the University of Tokyo -

On July 4, 2005, the projectile released from NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft collided with comet 9P/Tempel 1. This impact event on a comet, which is the first attempt in the world space exploration history, was observed by many ground-based telescopes. The observation results provide us with many clues for understanding the origin and evolution of the Solar System. In this article, I discuss results of our observation and insights obtained from the results.

(ISAS News: July 2006 issue)

July 18 updated

Quest to Solve the Mystery of the Birth of the Highest Energy Particles in Geospace - / Yoshizumi MIYOSHI - Assistant Professor, Solar-Terrestrial Environment Laboratory, Nagoya University -

Plasma particles change dynamically in the radiation belts surrounding the Earth. This article introduces the latest research on the mystery of the formation process of the high-energy particles, which sometimes causes satellite anomalies, and a future project to elucidate the mystery using satellites, ground observations, and computer simulation.

(ISAS News: May 2006 issue)

June 30 updated

Mass Estimation of Very Small Asteroid / Makoto YOSHIKAWA - Associate Professor, Department of Space Information and Energy, ISAS / HAYABUSA Mission & Science Team -

The asteroid explorer HAYABUSA arrived at the asteroid Itokawa on September 12, 2005, after a flight lasting two years and four months. After arriving at Itokawa, the attempt to estimate the asteroid mass was performed using the orbit of HAYABUSA. This is the world's first attempt to estimate the mass of very small asteroid such as Itokawa by spacecraft. This article introduces the orbit of HAYABUSA around Itokawa and the result of the estimation of the asteroid’s mass conducted while overcoming unforeseen troubles.

(ISAS News: April 2006 issue)

May 29 updated

Current Status and Future Prospects of Space-Environment Utilization in the Fundamental Science Field / Satoshi ADACHI - Associate Professor, Space Biology and Microgravity Science Department, ISAS -

In the past, the space environment, particularly microgravity, has been used primarily for materials and life sciences. Currently, however, its use for the fundamental science is expanding. This article introduces the current status of fundamental science using microgravity, provides examples of research on dusty plasmas and dynamics near the critical point, and examines its future prospects including international cooperation.

(ISAS News: March 2006 issue)

April 13 updated

Quick Release on Experiment Results of Mesh Deployment and Phased Array Antenna by S-310-36 / Shinichi NAKASUKA - Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, University of Tokyo -
Nobuyuki KAYA - Professor, Department of Computer and Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kobe University -

On January 22, 2006, we conducted an experiment on mesh-deployment and phased-array antenna. Four satellites deployed the mesh, a valuable method of constructing large-scale structures in space. The experiment was performed as part of a space-engineering education program and most onboard instruments were hand-made by university students.

(ISAS News: February 2006 issue)

April 04 updated

Small Scientific Satellite REIMEI and Auroral Observation / Masafumi HIRAHARA - College of Science, Rikkyo University -
Takeshi SAKANOI - Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University -
Kazushi ASAMURA - Research Division for Space Plasma, ISAS -

The small scientific satellite REIMEI (formerly called INDEX), designed for auroral observations, was launched from the Baikonur Space Center on August 24, 2005. With their merits of low cost and quick launching, small satellites are expected to play an important role in future space development. In this article, we introduce the REIMEI satellite and ongoing auroral observations.

(ISAS News: January 2006 issue)