JAXA sends fish to space

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has set up an Aquatic Habitat aboard the International Space Station. Researchers will use the facility to look at how microgravity impacts marine life (bone degradation, radiation etc). More on NASA

Aquatic Habitat at International Space Station

They are using the Medaka (Oryzias latipes, also known as Japanese killifish) – a small, freshwater fish – as a start. Next mission – send a kitteh to the space station ;)

Japan’s Ikaros solar sail flew by Venus

The IKAROS solar sail which was deployed by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in June 2011 has flew by Venus on December 8, marking the success of the world’s first demonstration of a solar power sail in space.

Japan IKAROS solar sail mission sequence

As its name indicates (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun), IKAROS is a kite-like spacecraft which is powered by radiation pressure in interplanetary space – a method which will be useful for future space exploration within the solar system in many ways, and with possibility of doing things at much lower cost.

Boomerang experiment at International Space Station

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released a video of Japanese astronaut Takao Doi experimenting with a specially designed boomerang at the International Space Station (ISS) in March 2008…

Conclusion… the boomerang reacted just the same under zero gravity as it would be on the ground. Aerodynamics expert David Caughey of Cornell said that the result is as expected – the looping paths are the result of uneven forces on the curved devices by the air they travel through, not the influence of gravity.

The boomerang was working in the space station, but would not work in the “real” outer space though. Boomerang expert and designer Gary Broadbent said that a boomerang would not work in the vacuum of space, as air molecules are needed to generate the lift to make the boomerang turn.