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The Forefront of Space Science

The Objective of Next-Generation Infrared Astronomical Satellite SPICA
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Material circulation in the universe

The current universe is mainly built from hydrogen and helium elements. The diversity of the universe is brought by other elements, the so-called heavy elements. With observations by AKARI, etc., it was found that heavy elements have been transformed into various material forms such as atomic gas, molecular gas, and solid fine particles to form the current universe.

However, it was difficult for AKARI to closely observe individual celestial bodies to pinpoint the specific process of material circulation in the universe. With its high-spatial resolution, SPICA can disclose individual celestial bodiesEstructures. Specifically, it will discern the structures of stars and molecular clouds in various evolutionary stages, which build nearby galaxies, and areas such as interstellar shock waves caused by supernova explosions, etc. Then it will measure and analyze material conditions of gases and dust in various space environments. Thus, SPICA is expected to provide a picture of material circulation. It is believed that these materials have been ingredients of galaxies, stars, and planets and provide the diversity of the universe.

International astronomical observatory SPICA

As discussed above, SPICA is a mission to challenge the big themes of current astronomy and is eagerly awaited by astronomers around the world. To accomplish the mission, Japanese technologies such as cooling technology are critical. SPICA is therefore proposed as an international observatory mainly led by Japan, with Europe an important partner. Research to participate in SPICA is underway at the European long-term space science plan “ESA Cosmic Vision.EIn the U.S., participation in SPICA was strongly recommended in its long-term plan “ASTRO 2010Efor astronomy and astrophysics. Another unique feature of SPICA is the collaboration of Asian country and region, specifically Korea and Taiwan.

We are actively promoting R&D in SPICA to meet the expectations of astronomers around the world. We sincerely request your continuing support.


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