Japan’s Nozomi spacecraft is on schedule to enter an orbit in Mars’ upper atmosphere in January 2004 after completing the second of three trips it will take around the Sun since its July 1998 launch. The 1,177-lb. spacecraft has been taking measurements of the interplanetary medium as it continues on a four-year trip to Mars. These include counts of dust and energetic particles and readings of low energy plasma, the magnetic field and the densities of hydrogen and helium. Program Manager Koichiro Tsuruda of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences reports the spacecraft and its instruments are healthy.
December 11th, 2000