Japan Plans Space Probe to Mercury

TOKYO, July 22 (UPI) — Japan says it is planning a space mission to Mercury with a spacecraft specially equipped with mirrors to combat the planet’s intense heat.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency believes the mirrors will help the probe to survive temperatures of up to 842 degrees on the surface of the planet, The Daily Telegraph reported.

By reflecting the intense heat of the sun, the temperature of the mirrors can be kept at about 320 F. Inside the body of the spacecraft, where observation equipment will be housed, temperatures should be below 140 F, Seiichi Sakamoto, head of the JAXA team, said.

The 6-foot-high space probe will be solar powered, using panels wrapped around its body. The probe is designed to constantly rotate to keep one side from becoming too hot.

JAXA’s plans for a Mercury probe follows the success to two recent Japanese space missions.

The Hayabusa returned to Earth in June after a seven-year journey to recover particles of an asteroid, and Ikaros, launched in May, is the first spacecraft to draw energy from a solar power sail, The Daily Telegraph said.

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Categorized | Other, Solar
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