22 May 2010

Japan launches space probe to Venus

8:08 am on 22 May 2010

Japan has launched a rocket containing both a Venus orbiter and a solar-powered space probe.

Soon after blasting off from southern Japan, the rocket deployed a satellite called Akatsuki, which will reach orbit around Venus in about six months.

The same Japanese rocket also unloaded Ikaros, a kite-shaped craft or space yacht which is propelled by a solar sail.

Key goals include finding definitive evidence for lightning and for active volcanoes, the BBC reports.