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Thread: Discussion: Japanese Spacecraft Images Earth ...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    SUMMARY: The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) MUSES-C spacecraft snapped pictures of the Earth and Moon as it made a flyby past our planet. The maneuver is called a gravity assist, which uses the Earth's gravity to give the spacecraft a boost in speed. The ion engine powered spacecraft skimmed past our planet at an altitude of only 3700 km before continuing on towards its final target: Asteroid Itokawa (1998SF36). It will reach the asteroid in summer 2005, and then spend 5 months orbiting and collecting samples from its surface. It will then leave the asteroid and return the samples to Earth in 2007.

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  2. #2
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    May 2004
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    I'm embarrassed to say that I hadn't even heard about this spacecraft. Our American media tend to cover only American space missions, and we rarely hear about the work of others. It is especially interesting that the spacecraft is using ion drive. I knew that it had been tested (by an American spacecraft, and loudly trumpeted by American media) but didn't know it was being tried again.
    Thanks, Fraser, for keeping us informed.
    Jim

  3. #3
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    Apr 2004
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    Very true!!

  4. #4
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    Isn't there another craft using ion drive, the one destined to survey the moon? Currently undrgoing grav assists?

  5. #5
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    Jul 2003
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    Yes Eric, its an ESA craft called Smart-1.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2004
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    Thank You Duane. I might try and find the related website. We can expect some close up pictures of the moon soon.

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