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The Forefront of Space Science


May 28, 2014 updated

Geospace Exploration Satellite - ERG Project

The outer space around the earth (Geospace) is a region of dynamic interactions between the magnetic fields and upper atmosphere of the earth and the plasma flow from the sun (solar wind). To be able to understand the Geospace environment and forecast its changes is indispensable for our utilization of outer space. To this end, the Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) satellite, set to incorporate a variety of technologies to realize high-accuracy scientific measurement, is under development toward a launch in 2015.

(ISAS News: December 2013 issue)

May 28, 2014 updated

Space and Aging

In space, the human body suffers bone mass loss and muscle weakness. By space experiments using mice, etc., the relationship between the space environment and aging/longevity was studied from the aspect of cellular senescence. It is expected that the space environment will provide an important proving ground in anti-aging research as well as basic science related to aging and longevity.

(ISAS News: November 2013 issue)

May 28, 2014 updated

Laser Altimeter for HAYABUSA 2

The development of the second asteroid explorer HAYABUSA-2 is progressing steadily. The altimeter plays an important role in planetary exploration. Based on the altimeter for HAYABUSA, a high-performance laser altimeter for HAYABUSA-2 is under design and testing. While lighter and smaller, it will allow us to measure far distances up to several hundred kilometers.

(ISAS News: October 2013 issue)

May 28, 2014 updated

Advancement of Solar Research by HINODE Satellite

Solar-observation satellite HINODE launched in 2006 carries three types of telescope and is providing us with never-before-seen solar images. Based on the observation by the high-performance satellite, research on solar activity is advancing greatly, particularly into mechanisms such as changes in magnetic-field distribution of the polar regions, flare triggers, and the relation between magnetic fields and flare occurrence.

(ISAS News: September 2013 issue)

May 28, 2014 updated

Physics of Fermi Acceleration Explored by Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

Developed and operated by international cooperation, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is achieving gamma-ray observation with extremely high sensitivity compared to previous satellites. Using the Fermi satellite, the research was made to understand the mechanism of particle acceleration in shock waves of supernova remnants, which is the foremost theme of astrophysics. The research provided us with important knowledge toward the elucidation of the origin of cosmic rays.

(ISAS News: August 2013 issue)

September 25, 2013 updated

Realization of Deep Space Navigation Technology by Solar Sail

The small solar-power sail demonstrator IKAROS was launched in May 2010. Just as sailboats are powered by wind, IKAROS flies by receiving solar light pressure with its solar sail. Solar sail navigation technology is expected to greatly contribute to space exploration in the future. This article looks back at various challenges in the research, development, and operation including sail deployment using centrifugal force that helped realize IKAROS.

(ISAS News: July 2013 issue)

May 28, 2014 updated

The Objective of Next-Generation Infrared Astronomical Satellite SPICA

Infrared obsewation is indispensable to explore the evolution of the universe. The next-generation infrared astronomy satellite SPICA is an international space observatory project with the purpose of elucidating space history including the birth and evolution of galaxies and stars. Research and development is now underway for SPICA, which will have excellent performance with a large-scale telescope of 3.2m aperture, toward its launch in FY2022.

(ISAS News: June 2013 issue)

May 9, 2014 updated

Crystal Growth Experiment in Space

Major features of outer space environment include various gravities, atmosphere, cosmic rays, and bundles space. Space environment utilization science is scientific researches where researchers focus on and utilize these features. After looking back to the past space experiments on crystal growth in Japan, this article discuss the future research themes such as growing of high-quality crystal and searching for new materials, etc. and contribution of those researches to science and so on.

(ISAS News: May 2013 issue)

May 28, 2014 updated

The Importance of Space Plasma Science at Saturn with Cassini

Before the era of space exploration the nature of the interplanetary space environment was the subject of much debate. However, in situ measurements made by numerous spacecraft have conclusively revealed that charged particles (plasma) continually flow away from the Sun, forming the solar wind. Although generally very low density, and thus invisible to the naked eye, the solar wind represents a significant and continuous energy flux from the Sun to the planets.

(ISAS News: April 2013 issue)

May 28, 2014 updated

A Reusable Sounding Rocket to Innovate Sounding Rocket Experiments

Small sounding rockets are launched for a variety of purposes including astronomical observations, upper-atmosphere research, and technological demonstrations. The development of a reusable sounding rocket will increase launches and provide more opportunities for rocket usage and qualitative innovation of the experimental environment. Furthermore, it is expected that liquid hydrogen technologies, etc., obtained through such development, will contribute to the solution of energy and environmental issues.

(ISAS News: March 2013 issue)

April 14, 2014 updated

Exploring the Interior of the Moon and Mars with Seismometers

Seismic observation is an effective method to study the internal structure of celestial bodies. The seismic observations of the Moon and Mars are expected to bring important knowledge on the solar system, but many difficult challenges remain including the development and deployment of suitable seismometers. This article introduces the current R&D status of seismic observations on the Moon and Mars.

(ISAS News: February 2013 issue)

November 15, 2013 updated

Development and Space Application of High-Functional Integrated Circuitry Using Compound Semiconductors

Compound semiconductors can realize high-performance devices and circuits. Using compound semiconductor monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) technology, a prototype of a frequency converter was fabricated and a high-functional IC called the HySIC RF-Mixed Signal IC is being proposed. It is expected that these technologies will soon be applied to both commercial and space fields, including the realization of small, lightweight satellites, in-satellite wireless communication, etc.

(ISAS News: January 2013 issue)