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The spacecraft flew by Mars on December 14, 2003 and went into a roughly 2-year heliocentric orbit. Though its mission has been abandoned the spacecraft is still active.
Intended Mars mission
Nozomi was to be inserted into a highly eccentric Mars orbit with a periareion 300 km above the surface, an apoareion of 15 Mars radii, and an inclination of 170 degrees with respect to the ecliptic plane. Shortly after insertion, the mast and antennas were to be deployed. The periareion would have been lowered to 150 km, the orbital period to about 38.5 hours. The spacecraft was to be spin stabilized at 7.5 rpm with its spin axis (and the dish antenna) pointed towards Earth. The periapsis portion of the orbit would have allowed in-situ measurements of the thermosphere and lower exosphere and remote sensing of the lower atmosphere and surface. The more distant parts of the orbit would be for study of the ions and neutral gas escaping from Mars and their interactions with the solar wind. The nominal mission was planned for one martian year (approximately two Earth years). An extended mission might have allowed operation of the mission for three to five years. The spacecraft was also to point its cameras at the martian moons Phobos and Deimos.
Efforts to put the Nozomi spacecraft into martian orbit have been abandoned. An attempt to fire thrusters to orient the craft for a Mars orbit insertion burn failed on December 9. The smaller thrusters were successfully fired and Nozomi flew past Mars at a distance of 1000 km on 14 December and went into a heliocentric orbit with a period of roughly two years.
The probe, Japan's first interplanetary explorer, had been traveling for five years toward Mars and would have reached the planet next week.
But officials at JAXA, Japan's space agency, said Nozomi was off target and that scientists gave up trying to salvage the mission after an attempt to fire the probe's engines failed because it was short on fuel.
"Our mission to explore Mars is over,'' JAXA spokesman Junichi Moriuma told The Associated Press. "After today's attempt, almost all of the probe's fuel is gone.''
Nozomi -- which means "Hope'' -- was to have circled Mars at an average altitude of about 550 miles to determine whether the planet has a magnetic field.
It was also set to examine the evolving Martian atmosphere's interaction with the solar wind -- a stream of highly charged particles coming from the Sun -- and offer a close-up examination of the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos.
But malfunctions during Nozomi's journey altered its trajectory, putting the dragonfly-shaped, 1,190-pound probe into a course that was too low and raising concerns it might crash into -- and possibly contaminate -- the planet's surface.
More than four years behind schedule, the probe was limping, nearly out of fuel, its electrical and communications equipment badly damaged by solar flares.
In sharp contrast with China's recent launch of its first manned rocket, Japan's space program, which sent a probe into lunar orbit and has another on its way to an asteroid, has suffered a string of setbacks.
Last month, an H-2A rocket carrying a pair of spy satellites strayed off course and was destroyed just minutes after liftoff. Because the H-2A is the workhorse of Japan's space program, a review of the failure is expected to force the postponement of several other missions.
The probe will remain in orbit. Moriuma said scientists will continue to modify Nozomi to carry out alternative missions, including monitoring solar activity, as it carves a wide path round the solar system. One lap is expected to take two years, he added.
Nozomi is part of an international fleet of Mars probes.
NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey are orbiting the planet and sending back images to Earth. Over the next month or so, the European Space Agency's Mars Express and three other spacecraft are expected to land on Mars.
Originally posted by Element-115
Originally posted by GorehoundLarry
reply to post by Element-115
No probs, I could be wrong and it could all really just be a big conspiracy, but who knows. Meh!!!
I'm confident that there's a lot of conspiracies out there... I'm sure of it...
But sometimes, like now I have had it, with conspiracies up the wazoo!!!
Couldn't we just get ONE or TWO solved already?