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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Finally, Nozomi Heads for Mars
23 June 2003 (All day)
TOKYO--Something has finally gone right for Japan's troubled Mars probe, Nozomi. Last week the 5-year-old wanderer slingshotted around the Earth toward what researchers hope will be a long-delayed rendezvous with the Red Planet.
A botched swingby in June 1998 forced mission planners to send the $840 million spacecraft around the sun, where it waited for the next auspicious opportunity to swing by Earth en route to Mars. Last year a solar flare knocked out a heater necessary to warm the fuel Nozomi needs to enter a Mars orbit.
There was one silver lining to the detour: Scientists at Japan's Institute for Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), near Tokyo, used Nozomi's trip to the sun and back to learn more about the interplanetary magnetic field and the interstellar helium cone and to snap the most detailed images yet of Earth's plasmasphere. Onboard the spacecraft are 14 instruments, from six countries, intended to scope out Mars' magnetic field, atmosphere, and ionosphere as well as the solar wind that bathes the planet.
The recent maneuver appeared to be successful, but the researchers still don't know if they will be able to insert Nozomi into a Mars orbit. "We can't go so far as to say everything was solved by the swingby," says Hajime Hayakawa of ISAS. But he and others are hopeful that next winter Nozomi will finally be in position to do its original job.
Nozomi's home page