It’s awesome to have a happy ending to what might have been a little space probe drifting off to die in the cold black of space. Or the fiery furnace of the sun, depending on it’s orbit. Luckily, this potential man-made comet was captured into orbit around Venus and can finally start doing it’s science!
While space exploration doesn’t usually allow for second chances, Akatsuki got another shot at Venus after zipping past the planet on its first attempt in December of 2010, the result of a main engine failure during a crucial orbital-insertion burn. Akatsuki, which means ‘dawn’ or ‘daybreak’ in Japanese, spent five years orbiting the sun so it could catch up with Venus and try again.