Artist impression of the Akatsuki orbiting Venus.
Image credits: AFP/Akihiko Ikeshita.
The Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, has launched an investigation into a failed attempt to put a craft into orbit around Venus. Akatsuki, which blasted off in May, was due to study Venus's violent atmosphere and confirm if there are active volcanoes on its surface. However, yesterday the craft failed to reduce its speed sufficiently to fall into the gravitational pull of the planet. Astronomers will now have to wait over six years for the mission to return to Venus before attempting to put it into orbit again.