Astro News Briefs: December 8–14

Hope Lost for Nozomi

December 10, 2003 | The name of Japan's interplanetary spacecraft Nozomi means "hope," but flight controllers have given up their hope of using it to explore Mars. Despite valiant efforts to keep the mission on track after malfunctions and damage from solar storms (see the January 2004 issue of Sky & Telescope, page 48), engineers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) were unable to regain contact with the Nozomi yesterday. They have therefore called off their attempts to place the troubled spacecraft into orbit around the red planet. The probe will instead slip past Mars on December 13th.