Japan loses contact with the only artificial satellite of Venus

Representatives of the Japanese space agency JAXA report a loss of communication with the Akatsuki spacecraft. In recent years, it has remained the only human-made probe that has worked in the orbit of Venus and carried out its scientific research.

Akatsuki probe orbits Venus. Source: JAXA/Akihiro Ikeshita

Communication with Akatsuki is lost

The Japanese space agency JAXA has announced that it has lost contact with the Akatsuki space probe. This spacecraft has operated in the orbit of Venus for many years. The mission report published on Wednesday, May 29, says that the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) cannot establish contact with it after operations conducted back in late March.

The message also says that the team continues to try to establish a connection with Akatsuki. However, to do this, it is necessary to somehow ensure a stable orientation of the antenna towards the Earth. There is still hope for this, but it is possible that the spacecraft is completely lost.

History of spacecraft

The Akatsuki space probe, which name translates as “dawn”, has a complex and dramatic history. It was launched back in 2010. However, due to the failure of the main engine, it flew past Venus. However, JAXA engineers did not despair and, with the help of a number of maneuvers, they were able to put it into orbit of our neighbor in 2015.

In 2018, its mission, called the Venus Climate Orbiter, was continued, and subsequently it began to provide scientists with really interesting scientific data on the state of the atmosphere and climate of the planet closest to us, about which researchers still know very little.

What will happen to the exploration of Venus

Until recently, the Akatsuki remained the only spacecraft that actively worked in the orbit of Venus. With its loss, scientists will lose an important source of scientific data. However, even if the connection with it has been interrupted forever, this does not mean abandoning further exploration of Venus.

On the contrary, Akatsuki’s research has shown that the atmosphere and surface of Venus deserve a broader program of study. In a few years, new American and European probes should reach the planet, which will carry out new observations.

According to www.space.com