Japanese Mars Probe Back on Track

Scientists at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) in Japan are bringing their first interplanetary mission, Nozomi, back to life. On April 21, 2002, the spacecraft was bombarded by extremely energetic solar particles from a coronal mass ejection, which pounded the craft for over six hours and caused a temporary shutdown. But engineers are now confident that the mission will soon be back on track. Originally known as “Planet-B,” Nozomi was renamed after launch to the Japanese word for “hope.” It is en route to Mars, where it will study the planet’s atmosphere and ionosphere.