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Friday, 21st May 2010
In Events In Japan,

Japan launches space probe

Japan has sent a space probe to the planet Venus in a bid to learn more about its atmosphere.

The Akatsuki probe is due to be in space for two years in total and was sent off on its journey by rocket from the Kagoshima space centre in southern Japan this morning (May 21st) just before 7 am GMT.

Following last week's aborted mission, which was postponed due to heavy cloud, the take off went to plan, the Japanese Space Agency said.

"The launch vehicle flew smoothly and at about 27 minutes and 29 seconds after liftoff, the separation of the Akatsuki was confirmed," it said.

The craft will not reach Venus for around seven months.

The BBC noted that while Venus is similar to Earth in size and composition, "there the resemblance ends". It said that the average temperature on the planet is a sizzling 460 degrees Celsius.

Written by Mark Smith.