Japan as a nation is not in touch anymore with its novel space observatory. All contact has been lost and it is a case of the new space telescope having become more of a stray kite.
Saturday was the day when Japan lost all contact with its latest space telescope. This modern day instrument of astronomy was termed Hitomi or ASTRO-H. It also has on board its structure an instrument that was manufactured at NASA headquarters.
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The telescope was originally designed to detect X-rays and gamma rays. It is also supposed to find out more about galaxy clusters and very huge black holes.
Hitomi launched for the depths of outer space on February 17th. It was broken up into five pieces that were set to take off individually in five stages respectively.
Radar scanning revealed that the telescope was not responding to signals from ground control. On March 26th, JAXA was left high and dry as far as contact with Hitomi was concerned.
It probably indicates that some strange quirk of nature such as an energy crisis has occurred. Otherwise, how could a whole telescope, and that too being a new one, get lost in outer space.
It appears to be the case that this is not a simple fiasco of communication. Rather it involves a loss of contact along with an orbital transformation not to mention five objects that are now mere debris floating about in outer space.
It is still a mystery what happened aboard Hitomi. Currently a probe into the matter is being conducted by JAXA. A very weak (barely noticeable) signal has been picked up from the space observatory.
Thus it is indeed a possibility that the five pieces detected by the radar are not debris resulting from an explosion but pieces of insulation material.
The space telescope may even be catapulting towards the earth. Signals from Hitomi may be entering the vicinity of planet earth soon. However, there is hope since not all may be lost.
There are still some chances of a last-minute recovery and rehabilitation. There are many among the ranks of JAXA who have not entirely given up on this space venture.
A previous example is SOHO with which contact was lost for months on end. However, it finally sprang to action and the signals were reactivated.
According to Phys.org, ALEXIS also had a solar panel destroyed in space yet recovered from a headlong plummet into the atmosphere of our home planet.
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There are plenty of second chances and sometimes technology picks up its operations where it left off. No matter what, no one ought to give up hope regarding Hitomi.