When we think of which countries are involved in the space industry, Russia and the United States primarily spring to mind first.
According to data from Futron, a technology consultant, Russia has sent 245 and the US 218 rockets successfully into orbit since 1999.
However, despite the US being the only nation to fly its flag on the moon – a symbolic reminder of the country’s dominance in space exploration – more countries are joining the international space race.
Although South Korea makes consecutive attempts to launch rockets into space, and North Korea claims to have put a satellite into space in 2009, it is actually Japan which is currently dominating the headlines for experiments in space.
The Japanese Kibo Module
The Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), more widely known as Kibo – which means ‘Hope’ in Japanese – has been developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). It is a Japanese science module for the International Space Station (ISS).
Kibo is Japan’s first human space facility and the largest single ISS module.
According to the NASA website, Kibo “enhances the unique research capabilities of the International Space Station.”
These enhanced research capabilities conducted on Kibo focus primarily on experiments involving biology, Earth observations, medicine, biotechnology, material production, and communications research.
With the environmental problems our planet faces today, such as global warming, the diminution of the ozone layer, and desertification, one of the most imperative experiments planned for Kibo is the observation of Earth’s environment.
Studying the Environment From the Kibo Module
While most of the research into environmental issues is usually conducted on land, Kibo will enable scientists to study problems facing the environment from space.
These interplanetary studies that Kibo will make possible includes studying trace gases that are responsible for depleting the ozone layer, as well as observing short waves emitted by the ozone.
In addition to the environment, the Japanese Experiment Module will conduct life science research and microgravity experiments.
The microgravity experiments, according to Aerospace Guide, include producing larger and more uniform in size protein crystals.
In doing so, the experiments will develop scientists’ understanding of disease mechanisms, ultimately leading to the development of new medicines.
The Aerospace Guide goes on to explain that the Kibo study of microgravity will help to develop our understanding of the effects of radiation on humans, animals and plants. Kibo will also include experiments in communications, energy and robotics.
The Kibo Module Includes 6 Components
To achieve such imperative and ground-breaking research, the NASA website explains that Kibo consists of six components, two research facilities – the Pressurized Module and Exposed Facility – with a Logistics Module attached to each of them.
It also has a scientific airlock through which experiments are transferred as well as exposed to the external environment of space.
The Pressurized Module is the central feature of Kibo, as it is where the majority of the microgravity experiments will be conducted.
The Exposed Facility, is a staging area where the long-term experiments in open space will be performed, as well as Earth and astronomical observations. A Remote Manipulator System will serve to support the experiments conducted on the Exposed Facility.
One of the most exciting features of Kibo is its camera, which will be mounted on the platform and will be the world’s largest wide-angle X-ray camera. This huge X-ray camera will observe and examine the marvels occurring in our galaxy and beyond, inexorably enhancing our understanding of interplanetary phenomena.
The first Japanese manned experimental facility has been docked to the International Space Station since 2008, what has Kibo already achieved?
While the literature commending the potential of the Japanese Experiment Module is plentiful, the literature highlighting the actual achievements of Kibo is comparatively rare.
Masato Koyama, Special Director at the JAXA Human Space System, said in an article about Japan’s experiments in space on the JAXA website that, “The results we produce today have uses tomorrow.” He goes on to explain that because of Kibo, “…our understanding of space exploration has increased.”
However, koyama continued, “Scientific research does not produce major results on the first try. I believe you have to repeat to form the foundation from which results arise.”
The assembly of the International Space Station in space began a new era of “hands-on” work in orbit. The assembly and docking of Kibo, Japan’s first manned experimental facility, means a new era has begun for Japan in the research of some of the most crucial issues affecting mankind today.TopSecretWriters.com