Japans damaged xray satellite Space scientists looking for clues

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Speculation about possible causes of an onboard explosion centers on a rupture of the helium tank for an x-ray detector cooling system, fuel leakage from the attitude control engines, and a battery malfunction. Takashi Kubota, JAXA program manager, said they are now analyzing the last transmissions of data received from the craft for clues as to what might have happened. He said the agency and its partners are striving to re-establish communications with the satellite as a first priority. They have 20 windows of opportunity to communicate each day and are sending commands hoping something gets through. At the same time they are gathering whatever clues they can from other sources about the attitude and condition of the craft. The agency has even asked the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan to train its 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope, located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, on Hitomi.  At a press conference in Tokyo today, officials of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said that because of the difficulty of gathering information from the wayward Hitomi x-ray observatory they couldn’t say how long it might take to figure out what has gone wrong. A joint JAXA-NASA mission, Hitomi was launched 17 February and was still undergoing commissioning when normal communications were lost on 26 March. Originally called ASTRO-H, Hitomi carries a suite of instruments designed to detect x-rays and gamma rays emanating from black holes, swirling gases in galaxy clusters, and supernova remnants. Ground stations have intermittently picked up signals apparently from the spacecraft on four occasions, raising hopes that the main body of the craft might be intact. But the last of those glimpses of life was on 29 March. Ground visual and radar observations indicate that the craft has split into at least two pieces and is likely spinning. “At the moment, there is no evidence of a collision with space debris,” said Saku Tsuneta, director general of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara near Tokyo. Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Tsuneta said that given the capabilities of the various instruments on the craft, “Astronomical researchers worldwide had extremely high hopes for this satellite, I think they would like it to be recovered no matter what it takes.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *