06 December 2006

Japan goes to Luna too

Japan has an interesting habit of forgetting to stay a minor power, then going out & doing something major in their own interesting way.

The last one I remember of these was measuring an asteroid — Itokawa — with a satellite named Hayabusa in a mission known as MUSES-C & finding it only a quarter as dense as beach sand. Any samples will be returned to Woomera, it being a safer & more obvious target than even Hokkaido.

This time, they’re sending a satellite constellation known as SELENE to orbit the Moon.

It’s a constellation rather than a single satellite so that the two smaller orbiters (“VRAD” & “Relay”) can relay radio from each other to do things like accurately measure Lunar gravitation on the far side. They’ve done a number of such interesting things with the mission planning.

Part of the Nipponese special features include being able to include your wishes in the mission as a kind of payload. You get the rest of this month to submit your wish, which then goes Lunatic in July 2007.

I wonder how many wishes for Duke Nukem Forever will be included? Hopefully, you’ll be allowed more than 16 colours per wish. (-:

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