Japan's Venus probe Akatsuki may go blind. Bob Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack.com

Mar 05, 2017, 12:00 AM

03-03-2017 (Photo: Japan's Akatsuki Probe at Venus) http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/contact http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/schedules http://johnbatchelorshow.com/blog Twitter: @BatchelorShow

Japan's Venus probe Akatsuki may go blind. Bob Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack.com

"Two of five cameras on Japan’s Venus orbiter Akatsuki shut down March 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm Robert Zimmerman Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence. Japan has been forced to shut down operation on two of the five cameras on its Venus orbiter Akatsuki. They think the problem has been caused by the additional five years required to get into Venus orbit when its main engine failed to fire during the first orbital attempt in 2010. During those five years the spacecraft was exposed to more radiation that expected, possibly damaging its equipment...."


Back in December, an electronic device that controls the two cameras started to consume an excessive amount of power, making it impossible for mission planners to control the instruments. After weeks of trying to fix the glitch, and with no success, the mission planners have decided to shut down the two cameras, dubbed IR1 and IR2. JAXA will periodically try to restart the cameras in the hopes that the problem somehow goes away, but it doesn’t look good. The problem, says JAXA, is the likely deterioration of electronic parts caused by excessive exposure to radiation. Back in 2010, the orbiter failed to hit its mark when approaching Venus, resulting in an unplanned five-year journey around the Sun. On December 7, 2015, Akatsuki finally reached its destination, entering into an alternative elliptical orbit. The probe began its investigation of Venus’ atmosphere in April 2016, and things have gone fairly smoothly since then