The other day, the Japanese Space Agency JAXA has published confirmation that their mission to Venus, carried out by the Akatsuki spacecraft, may soon reach its goal, namely closer to December 7th.
The ship is currently located near the highly elliptical orbit of the planet, which takes about 13 days to fly over. Having traveled about four hundred kilometers (or 248 miles), Akatsuki managed to get closer to the nearest point, reaching a distance of 4,400,000 km (or 243, 400 miles) to the goal.
The spacecraft is still in good condition, and its various tools continue to operate smoothly. Regular scientific operations are expected to begin in April 2016 only. Congratulations to all the scientists and engineers of the space agency JAXA. Akatsuki really is an important "cosmic" child of science, which will help to learn more about such a distant and unknown world.
Uncompressed image of Venus taken by Akatsuki's Ultraviolet Imager (UVI) at 2:19 AM on December 7 (Japanese time) from a distance of 72,000 km.
Uncompressed image of Venus taken by Akatsuki's 1μm camera (IR1) at 1:50 AM on December 7 (Japanese time) from a distance of 68,000 km.