Posts by cosmos

Building the first cells for the origins of life

When the Hayabusa2 mission returns to Earth at the end of 2020, it will bring with it a sample from a carbonaceous asteroid. This class of asteroid is thought to have pelted the early Earth, delivering water and possibly the first organic molecules with which to begin life. But what happened after that?

Hayabusa2: mapping Ryugu’s extraordinary past

Three research papers have been published this month in the International Journal, Science, detailing the first results from the JAXA/ISAS Hayabusa2 mission to asteroid Ryugu.

The Shifting Sands of Phobos

The Martian moon, Phobos, has a two-coloured surface that has been difficult to explain. In a Nature Geosciences paper this month, researchers at ISAS・JAXA have suggested a novel explanation that may shed light on how the moons of our red planet were born.

Akatsuki seeks the source of Venus’s extreme weather

Akatsuki may have discovered why Venus’s atmosphere rotates so fast. The reason may play a vital role in the habitability of Earth-sized exoplanets.

Save the date! Q&A ahead of the launch of BepiColombo to Mercury in October

Q&A with the ISAS Deputy Director General, Masaki Fujimoto, and BepiColombo MIO project scientist, Go Murakami, as we get ready for the BepiColombo launch to Mercury this October.

SPICA: A telescope to tell our history in the Universe

Last month, the European Space Agency (ESA) officially announced that SPICA was one of three missions being considered for its M5 program. A joint ESA-JAXA mission, SPICA is a space telescope that detects infrared radiation. But what can we learn from the heat signatures in the Universe?

Understanding the aurora: the Grand Challenge Initiative – Cusp

“The Northern Lights are movies,” says Yoshifumi Saito from the Division of Solar System Sciences at ISAS. “They show the activity of the Earth’s magnetosphere; the region of space where you can feel the our magnetic field.”

The CAESAR mission to collect a sample from a comet

“I’ve built my career on designing instruments you could put on the top of a rocket,” says Steve Squyres, Principal Investigator for the CAESAR mission. “But these all pale in comparison to what you can do in the laboratory.”

The X-factor: The collaboration between Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx

“You cannot sign an international collaboration agreement and expect everything to just work,” says Heather Enos, Deputy Principal Investigator for the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission. “Each country will have different policies that the teams have to be pro-active in navigating.”

Facing the furnace: BepiColombo is getting ready to depart for Mercury

On July 6th, twin press conferences ran in the Netherland and Japan. It was the final chance to take a peek at BepiColombo; a joint mission between ESA and JAXA to explore our Solar System’s innermost world, Mercury. But what can we learn from a planet that orbits so close to the roaring inferno of our Sun?

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