Are primitive asteroids “fluffy”?

The first photographs from Hayabusa2 of the surface of asteroid Ryugu revealed a treacherous landscape, with large boulders carpeting the asteroid to form a rugged topology. Yet when the spacecraft turned on its thermal infrared imager (TIR), it saw a surprisingly homogenous surface in the thermographic images.

Is the history of Mars etched in the grains of its moons?

The ISAS・JAXA Martian Moons eXploration Mission (MMX) will bring home a sample from the moons of Mars. New results from ISAS researchers suggest this sample may not only uncover the origins of the moons, but also reveal the evolution of the habitat on Mars itself.

Measuring the waves through Titan: ISAS builds a seismometer for NASA’s Dragonfly mission

In June this year NASA announced the selection of Dragonfly for the agency’s New Frontiers program. The mission will fly an innovative multi-rotor drone through the atmosphere of Titan, investigating multiple sites on the Saturn moon. The goal is to study chemistry similar to that which supported the development of life on the early Earth. Onboard Dragonfly will be a seismometer designed here at ISAS・JAXA to investigate the interior of one of the most Earth-like locations in the Solar System.

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?

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