JAXA Renames Venus Probe, Seeks Tidings To Fly Along

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said Oct. 23 that it has nicknamed the Venus Climate Orbiter “Akatsuki” (meaning “dawn”) and is asking people around the world to submit messages that will be inscribed on an aluminum plate and installed onboard the unmanned probe slated to launch in 2010.



Messages are being accepted via JAXA’s Web site through Dec. 25.



Formerly known as Planet C, Akatsuki is a roughly 600-kilogram scientific orbiter designed to spend at least two years studying Venus and its atmosphere. Slated to launch around May atop a Japanese H-2A rocket, the spacecraft should enter orbit around Venus by the end of 2010.