JAXA loses contact with Hitomi telescope



This past year on February 17th, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) launched its Hitomi X-ray observatory, an amazing telescope that can capture image emissions from black holes, hot gas in galaxy clusters, and more.

Unfortunately, as of March 26th, JAXA has suddenly lost contact with Hitomi, and they are desperately trying to gain contact with it once again. This past Saturday, upon the start-up of the device, it failed to respond as per usual.

Reports of seeing the Hitomi have come in. Most from various amateur astronomers reporting to have seen the craft in a slow spin. Other reports, such as one from JSpOC (US-based Joint Space Operations Center), who tracks other orbiting objects in our universe, said that they saw something separated into five different sections, located where Hitomi was supposed to be. However, this was not confirmed and Azusa Yabe of JAXA says they received short signals after JSpOC made the comment.

As of right now, there has been no contact with the Hitomi yet. “We are still trying to recover communication with ‘Hitomi,’ and trying to find out the status and causes of this communication failure,” states Yabe.

If they don’t ever contact it or figure out what happened, it’s going to be a major disappointment for researchers and scientists alike – as this was a groundbreaking project. The last major X-ray observatory to be launched was in 1999, so this is a big deal for most.

Via Science Mag

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