April 17, 2013 updated
Entry to the atmosphere is an unavoidable passage when returning from outer space or landing explorers on atmospheric planets such as Mars. The most difficult hurdle to entry is aerodynamic heating. To overcome this, a "deployable-type, flexible-membrane-structure aeroshell" was proposed, where an air-brake like umbrella unfolds to slow down the vehicle, and its effectiveness confirmed by computer simulation, wind-tunnel, balloon, and sounding-rocket experiments.
December 17, 2012 updated
The ionosphere (upper atmosphere region) is unique, differing from both the earth we live on and the universe. In the upper atmosphere region, neutral atmosphere and plasma co-exist. Sounding rockets provide opportunity to make in-situ observation of the region. This article introduces research on this region and the latest results by describing three examples of experiments using sounding rockets.
November 21, 2012 updated
A spacecraft carries numerous computer chips. However, they sometimes malfunction unexpectedly. The cause of the anomaly is cosmic rays (high-energy particles) flying in the universe. When cosmic rays hit the chips, the wrong signal (SET noise) can be output. Following a long period of research, a significant result has been achieved in SET noise analysis.
October 29, 2012 updated
Dust containing radioactive materials was dispersed widely following the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in March 2011. Gamma-rays are emitted when unstable nuclei in the radioactive materials decay. JAXA is developing high-sensitivity gamma-ray sensors for astronomical observations. Based on this technology, it is developing a "Ultra-Wide-Angle Compton Camera" in an attempt to contribute to the decontamination of materials.
August 24, 2012 updated
A supernova is huge explosion of stars ending their lives. Following the explosion, an extremely high-temperature plasma cloud or "supernova remnant" (SNR) is formed. SNRs shine brightly in X-ray. By the analysis of the rich data obtained from the most advanced X-ray astronomical satellites, many research results have been achieved, including the precise measurement of SNRs' proper motions and the detection of X-rays originating from charge-exchange reaction.
August 6, 2012 updated
The dynamical measurement of celestial bodies by the Doppler Effect is fundamental to astronomy. Using the same principle, the X-ray astronomical satellite SUZAKU explored the plasma motion of a galaxy cluster. SUZAKU's discoveries and follow-up satellite ASTRO-H's observations may one day reveal the real identity of the "dark components the universe".