Japan space agency shuts down 2 cameras investigating Venus' atmosphere due to excessive radition

Akatsuki, the Japanese space probe was launched aboard in May 2010 to study the atmosphere in Venus.

Japan's space agency had to shut down two of the five cameras that were orbiting the Venus along the Akatsuko spacecraft, following an unnatural energy surge. No doubt, it is a bad news for the troubled orbiter as it has been exposed to a huge amount of radiation, which was far more than expected.

Akatsuki, the Japanese space probe was launched aboard in May 2010 to study the atmosphere in Venus. In December, last year, an electronic device, that controls the affected cameras started consuming an excessive amount of power. This made it impossible for the mission planners to control the instruments. Although, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) tried to fix theglitchh for weeks, but there has not been any success and the mission planners had to shut down the two cameras, dubbed IR1 and IR2. However, JAXA will periodically try to restart the cameras, but hopes are quite thin.

Akatsuki JAXA

According to JAXA, the problem is probably the deterioration of the electronic parts caused by the excessive exposure to radiation. It all started when back in 2010 December the orbiter failed to enter the Venus orbit, resulting in an unplanned five-year journey around the Sun. Finally, on 7 December 2015, Akatsuki entered the intended destination but seems like the probe's earlier brush with Sun exposed it to higher levels of radiation than anticipated, causing the damages.

Unfortunately, the cameras were actually doing some pretty awesome work, since the probe began its investigation of Venus' atmosphere in April 2016. It is indeed a loss that the cameras won't be able to contribute to the study of the planet venus.

Last year IR2 camera spotted a vortex in Venusian clouds, which completely perplexed the scientists, as these features aren't supposed to happen in Venus' atmosphere, which is dominated by super rotation.

A vortex in the Venusian clouds. Although similar vortices are seen in our planet's atmosphere, it's the first time such a feature was spotted on Venus JAXA

In another astonishing breakthrough, the probe spotted a 6,200-mile-long structure in the atmosphere of Venus, which just doesn't move. JAXA scientists said it's the largest "gravity wave" ever recorded in the solar system.

It is only because of Akatsuki we are gradually getting to understand that Venus is a very complicated place, and we've just barely scratched the surface in terms of comprehending how it works.

In the meantime, NASA has already started working on the problem.

The three remaining cameras other than IR1 and IR2 are still functional, allowing the mission controllers to scan the planet in normal light, ultraviolet and long-wave infrared.

The mission is continuing as planned, but there's concern that other instruments may start to fail with time. The probe, designed for 4.5 years of work, has started to show signs of deterioration just after one year of orbiting its intended target.