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The Forefront of Space Science


May 28, 2014 updated

Thermal Control System of BepiColombo MMO

The BepiColombo mission to unravel the mysteries of Mercury is advancing with the cooperation of the European Space Agency (ESA) and JAXA (ISAS). Since Mercury is the planet nearest to the Sun, the explorer must endure a fierce environment, especially hot temperature. ISAS is responsible for developing the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), and is proceeding with a variety of research and verification on thermal control.

(ISAS News: December 2011 issue)

April 13, 2012 updated

What is Mysterious Far-Infrared Radiation Detected by AKARI?

Infrared astronomical satellite AKARI detected a mysterious far-infrared cosmic background radiation. According to the various analyses, one of its possible sources is relatively small black holes that existed in great number in the early universe. Or, its origin may be unknown physical phenomena. Various approaches will be taken to elucidate the mystery.

(ISAS News: Nobember 2011 issue)

May 28, 2014 updated

Thermal Control System of BepiColombo MMO

Development of the next-generation solid rocket EPSILON has started. Although propellant accounts for a large portion of a solid rocketís cost, propellant development in the past focused on improvement of its function and performance. Currently, research is being conducted to develop a new solid propellant that will be more economical and environmentally friendly, and have high-thrust performance.

(ISAS News: October 2011 issue)

December 14, 2011 updated

Understanding Relativistic Jets

Astrophysical jets are collimated streams of magnetized plasma produced by compact accreting objects such as neutron stars or black holes. Particularly prominent jets are associated with supermassive black holes hosted by active galaxies.

(ISAS News: September 2011 issue)

February 13, 2012 updated

The Challenge for Ultra-Small Satellites : Aiming at Great Innovation in Space Science

An ultra-small satellite generally weighs less than 100kg, and R&D is being actively advanced across the world. The ultra-small satellite is not only for educational purposes; it also has other features: e.g., it allows us to conduct early space demonstration of advanced technologies at component and equipment level. This article introduces the meaning of ultra-small satellites with actual examples.

(ISAS News: August 2011 issue)

October 31, 2011 updated

Sand of Itokawa

Investigation confirmed that fine particles returned by the spacecraft HAYABUSA in June 2010 originated from the asteroid Itokawa. The fine rocky particles of Itokawa were recovered from the sample container of HAYABUSA with a special quartz glass probe and so on. This article describes the recovery work and partial results of the initial analysis on the particles.

(ISAS News: June 2011 issue)

October 5, 2011 updated

Electric Rocket: Game-Changing Technology

The success of the asteroid explorer HAYABUSA, which returned to earth despite many difficulties, was supported by a microwave discharge-type ion engine developed by ISAS. The engine is robust and easy to operate, and also offers flexibility of trajectory design. ISAS is striving to develop many innovative electric rocket technologies.

(ISAS News: May 2011 issue)

September 14, 2011 updated

AKARI's Whole-Sky Survey by Mid-Infrared

The infrared astronomical satellite AKARI conducted a all-sky survey by mid-infrared. The survey's objectives are the origins of the universe and of life. It has provided valuable findings elucidating a variety of physical phenomena in the universe, including observation of the site where solid particles were formed in a supernova remnant.

(ISAS News: April 2011 issue)

August 22, 2011 updated

Development of Space-Application Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Space/Commercial Common-Use Strategy

Spacecraft such as scientific satellites could be called collections of electronic parts. Due to concerns about commercial LSIs' durability to the severe radiation environment in space, most high-performance space-application LSIs are imported from abroad. Based on the space/commercial common-use strategy, ISAS succeeded in developing low-cost, high-performance space-application LSIs.

(ISAS News: March 2011 issue)

July 13, 2011 updated

Black Hole Binaries Observed by MAXI

When observed in X-ray, the Universe looks very different from that observed in visible light. Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI), delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) in July 2009, is catching many interesting images and events in the Universe in X-ray. This article introduces some observation results on one example - the black hole binaries.

(ISAS News: February 2011 issue)

May 30, 2011 updated

Solar Sail Navigation Technology of IKAROS

The Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator IKAROS, launched in May 2010 and propelled by solar-light pressure, passed the vicinity of Venus in December 2010. During the period, IKAROS accelerated to 100m/s. This article introduces the attitude system, one of several technological demonstrations IKAROS conducted. The solar-sail technology obtained by IKAROS is expected to significantly change deep-space exploration in the future.

(ISAS News: January 2011 issue)