An outline of the Planet-B mission

 The Planet-B mission is to send a spacecraft to our neighboring planet Mars. The spacecraft which later renamed Nozomi(=hope), was launched with M-V rocket at Kagosima Space Center(KSC) on July 4th 1998. After orbitin Earth for 4 months, Nozomi departs for the Mars. After traveling through interplanetary space for 10 months, it will be injected into Mars orbit.

Our main objective is to investigate the motion and the structure of the upper atmosphere. To do this, 14 instruments are installed. The spacecraft is much smaller than the American spacecraft, the Mars-observer, and weighs only about 200 kg. Although it is extremely lightweight, Nozomi is still a very high-performing spacecraft.

Observations by Nozomi

1. Magnetic field of Mars

We do not know yet if there is a magnetic field on Mars. Nozomi is designed to precisely measure the martian magnetic field for the first time.

2. Atmosphere of Mars

Nozomi will investigate the composition and the structure of the atmosphere by using ultraviolet remote-sensing detectors. Also by using a small mass-analyzer, we will be able to know the ionospheric composition.

3. Plasma in the ionosphere of Mars

Nozomi investigates the components, the structure, the temperature and plasma waves within the ionosphere with the newly developed detectors. We expect to see a new face of Mars in these particular unobserved regions.

4. Pictures

A very small on-board camera will be taking pictures of the martian weather and its two companions - Phobos and Dimos. We will be able to know how sandstorms and clouds are generated and also the growth and the decay of the polar icecaps

5. Dust

It is said that there could be a dust-ring along the orbit of Phobos. By using the dust counter, will clearly know if it does exist.