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The Forefront of Space Science


May 16, 2011 updated

Nature's light show: planetary aurora

Each planet is a unique world, that is influenced by the materials they are made from, and their distance from the Sun.The Sun is not only the vital source of light and heat for all the planets, but also shedding particles from its upper layers.This "solar wind" has very important effects on the planetary environments.

(ISAS News: December 2010 issue)

March 22, 2011 updated

Development and Publication of the data-access service ďAKARI Catalog Archive ServerĀE height=

On March 30, 2010, based on infrared astronomical satellite AKARI's all-sky survery, ISAS launched its data-access service AKARI-CAS, an infrared astronomical catalog containing about 1.3 million astronomical objects. With its variety of search functions, the service can contribute to the advancement of space science. Further enhancement, such as image-data provision, is also under way.

(ISAS News: November 2010 issue)

March 3, 2011 updated

New Aurora Shape Captured by REIMEI

With the Innovative Technology Demonstration Experiment satellite REIMEI, we discovered a structurally unique aurora that differs from previously observed ones. Conventional theories of aurora generation-mechanism cannot explain this aurora and a new hypothesis is now proposed. It is expected that SPRINT-B/ERG, a small scientific satellite under planning, will elucidate the mystery of this aurora.

(ISAS News: October 2010 issue)

January 17, 2011 updated

Lunar Interior Material Revealed by KAGUYA

The Spectral Profiler onboard the lunar explorer KAGUYA successfully retrieved 70 million spectral reflectance data of the Moon. From these data, it was revealed that the olivine-rich material on the surface was excavated from the lunar mantle by the impact of huge celestial bodies. This discovery is expected to lead to the elucidation of the evolution process of other planets such as earth.

(ISAS News: September 2010 issue)

December 28, 2010 updated


Discoveries for black holes over the past decades have completely changed our view. We now understand that the birth and the evolution of black holes cannot be described without their destructive power.
Radiation and energy from vicinity of black holes are found to be generated with physical processes newly discovered in the past decades, which are only possible with tremendous power of black holes.

(ISAS News: August 2010 issue)

November 1, 2010 updated

Mysterious Auroral Events ~ To be Explored by GEOTAIL Satellite

The aurora shining in the night sky often brightens suddenly and expands explosively. No full explanation had been provided for this energy-release phenomenon. Analysis of data from the GEOTAIL satellite, etc., revealed that ďmagnetic reconnectionĀEplays an important role in the event.

(ISAS News: July 2010 issue)

August 16, 2010 updated

Trajectory Design for Interplanetary Missions and Formation Flight of Spacecraft

Missions are soon expected where a spacecraft will explore multiple asteroids, or many satellites orbit the earth in formation. Complex trajectory design will be required for these missions. This article summarizes a method that uses a generating function effective for trajectory design and provides design examples.

(ISAS News: June 2010 issue)

July 12, 2010 updated

The 4.6-Billion-Year History of the Sun

There is a view that the Sun is in an abnormal state as evidenced by, for example, the lengthening of its usual 11-year activity cycle. But is this really true? This article considers the relationship between the Sunís 4.6-billion-year history and the earth environment including the birth of life. Deepening our understanding of solar activity could also contribute to the solution to earthís environmental problems.

(ISAS News: May 2010 issue)

June 24, 2010 updated

Micro-Sized Handyman

Expectations are rising for small satellites and explorers that can be built and launched inexpensively. Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) technology realizes very small devices that can operate without functional deterioration even when miniaturized, and that can add new functions by self-miniaturizing. In the future, it may be possible to build a satellite the size of a mobile phone.

(ISAS News: April 2010 issue)

June 10, 2010 updated

Watching Huge Explosions in the Farthest Area of the Universe. Mysteries of Gamma-ray Bursts to be Unraveled by Fermi Satellite

Occurring in the farthest observable area of the universe, a gamma-ray burst is an event that shines suddenly and brightly for several milliseconds to several hundred seconds in gamma-ray. The Fermi satellite, an international mission, caught a gamma-ray burst occurring 7.3 billion light years away. This article introduces the latest research to solve the mysteries of gamma-ray bursts.

(ISAS News: March 2010 issue)

May 28, 2010 updated

Skylight of Underground Lava Tube on the Moon

The lunar orbiting satellite SELENE (KAGUYA) discovered a vertical hole on the Moon. This hole proves the existence of an underground lava tube, which is both an important scientific object and the most suitable place for constructing a lunar base. This is because the tube's interior is protected from the impact of micrometeorites and radiation exposure while the temperature is kept constant.

(ISAS News: February 2010 issue)

April 5, 2010 updated

The True Face of Comets Illuminated by AKARI

Research on comets focusing on carbon dioxide is being conducted by using the infrared astronomical satellite AKARI. The research is helping elucidate the evolutionary process of the primitive solar nebula and the materials that formed protoplanets 4.5 billion years ago. The combination of comets and AKARI has produced a kind of time machine to explore the history of the solar system.

(ISAS News: January 2010 issue)