Japan's Akatsuki probe successfully makes it into Venus' orbit

It's been circling the sun since its failed attempt in 2010.

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Mariella Moon
December 10th, 2015
In this article: akatsuki, jaxa, science, space, venus
Japan's Akatsuki probe successfully makes it into Venus' orbit

After five years of orbiting the sun, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA's) Akatsuki probe has finally reached the destination it was gunning for from the start. JAXA has confirmed that the spacecraft has been successfully inserted into Venus' orbit, flying in the same direction as the planet's rotation. Akatsuki's first attempt in 2010 ended in failure, because its engines fired for less than three minutes, which wasn't enought to inject it into the Morning and Evening star's orbit. It had to be placed into hibernation mode to prolong its lifespan until JAXA had the chance to make another attempt a few days ago.

JAXA tested the probe's cameras when it confirmed that it's in good health and where it should be -- you can even see one of the photos of Venus it took below. It will continue testing Akatsuki's other instruments and cameras in the next few months before it officially begins taking photos of the planet and its clouds and gathering data in April 2016.

[Image credit: Akihiro Ikeshita/JAXA]

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