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Old 28-11-14, 15:18   #1
 
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Earth PhOtOs-Volcano Erupts in Japan-Delays Asteroid Probe

Flights Cancelled Across Japanese Region after Mount Aso Volcano Erupts for the First Time in 22 Years
-Spewing Lava, Smoke and a Kilometre-High Ash Cloud

  • Mount Aso, located about 625 miles southwest of Tokyo, on Kyushu island, has erupted for the first time in 22 years
  • The volcano has been blasting chunks of magma and debris and shooting ash 3,280 feet into the sky
  • Dozens of flights from Kumamoto, the nearest city, has been cancelled
Daily Mail UK, 28 November 2014


Dozens of flights have been cancelled across southern Japan after a volcano erupted for the first time in 22 years.


Mount Aso, located about 625 miles southwest of Tokyo, on Kyushu island, has been blasting out chunks of magma since Friday morning, causing flight cancellations from Kumamoto, the nearest city, and prompting warnings to stay away from its crater.
The volcano has been spewing out lava debris and smoke, shooting plumes of ash a kilometer (3,280 feet) into the sky, The Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Scroll down for video





Eruption: Volcanic smoke billows from Mount Aso, located about 625 miles southwest of Tokyo, on the southern Kyushu island, following an eruption on Friday




Mount Aso is one of the world's largest volcanos, but the observatory do not expect the eruption to increase in scale.


Eruptions by another volcano, Mount Ontake, on the central Japanese island of Honshu, in September left at least 57 dead, and a further six people remain unaccounted for.

Experts say hikers near the summit might have been hit by rocks flying as fast as 190 miles per hour. Most of the ash fell in the first hour of the explosion, according to the University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute.

Survivors said they fled for their lives as rocks and debris rained down on them while they struggled with hot air and ash hitting their face.
Seismologists have said that increased seismic activity had been detected at Ontake, one of 47 active volcanoes in Japan that are under 24-hour monitoring, but that nothing signaled such a big eruption.

The death toll is the highest from a volcanic eruption in Japan's postwar history, exceeding the 43 people killed in the 1991 eruption of Mount Unzen in southern Japan.





Danger: The volcano is blasting out chunks of magma in the first such eruption in 22 years, causing flight cancellations and prompting warnings to stay away from its crater






Sky high: Mount Aso had spewed out lava debris and smoke, shooting plumes of ash a kilometer (3,280 feet) into the sky









Stay indoors: The Japanese Meteorological Agency has issued a warning to residents around the volcano








No-fly zone: Dozens of flights from Kumamoto, the nearest city, has been cancelled following the eruption

Mount Aso Spews Plumes of Smoke and Ash a km into the Air






RELATED:


Bad Weather Delays Japan Asteroid Probe Lift Off

28 November 2014


Bad weather will delay the launch of a Japanese space probe on a six-year mission to mine a distant asteroid, just weeks after a European spacecraft's historic landing on a comet captivated the world.
Hayabusa2 had been set to blast off aboard Japan's main H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan on Sunday.


But thick cloud expected over the weekend means scientists need to postpone the launch, a statement by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.





Hayabusa2 had been set to blast off aboard an H-IIA rocket (pictured) from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan on Sunday ŠJiji Press (Jiji Press/AFP/File)



"The new launch day will be announced as soon as it is determined," it added.

The 31 billion yen ($260 million) project is sending a probe towards the unpoetically-named 1999 JU3 asteroid in deep space.
It will blast a crater in the asteroid to collect virgin materials unexposed to millennia of solar wind and radiation, in the hope of answering some fundamental questions about life and the universe.

"The asteroid is carbonaceous and we may find organic matter and water, the stuff of life," Hitoshi Kuninaka, project leader at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), said in an interview posted on the agency's website.

Analysing the extra-terrestrial materials could help shed light on the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago and offer clues about what gave rise to life on Earth, he said.

Hayabusa2, about the size of a domestic refrigerator, is expected to reach the asteroid in mid-2018 and will spend around 18 months studying the surface.
It will also drop tiny MINERVA-II rover robots as well as a French-German landing package named Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) for surface observation.

- Galactic First -

In a galactic first, Hayabusa2 will drop an "impactor" that will explode above the asteroid's surface and fire a metal bullet into the crust at a speed of 7,200 kilometres (4,500 miles) an hour -- six times the speed of sound on Earth.
The bullet is expected to create a small crater that will enable the probe to collect material from the asteroid.

"The impactor is made fully with Japanese technologies that are so advanced you would think they are out of this world," said Kuninaka.

The Hayabusa2 mission will blast off just weeks after the European Space Agency succeeded in making mankind's first-ever landing on a comet this month.
Scientists said initial data sent from the robot lab Philae showed traces of organic molecules and a surface much harder than imagined.

Philae, released from its mothership Rosetta, has gone into hibernation on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, having used its onboard battery power after 60 hours of prodding and probing.

Engineers hope the lander's solar panels will charge its batteries in the coming months as the comet, with Philae hopefully still clinging to its surface, moves closer to the Sun.
If the Hayabusa2 mission goes well, pristine asteroid samples will be returned to Earth in late 2020.

JAXA aims to bring 100 milligrams (1/286th of an ounce) of samples to Earth after a round trip of more than five billion kilometres.
The probe is the successor to JAXA's first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa -- the Japanese term for falcon -- which returned to Earth in 2010 with dust samples after a trouble-plagued seven-year mission.

The spherical 1999 JU3 asteroid, which is around a kilometre (half a mile) across, is believed to contain significantly more organic matter and water than the potato-shaped rock studied by the original Hayabusa.

Despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey, including intermittent loss of communication and damage to its motors, the first Hayabusa was hailed as a triumph of science when it returned to Earth.





Hayabusa2, about the size of a domestic refrigerator, is expected to reach the asteroid in mid-2018





The surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko pictured during Philae's descent, from a distance of 40m above the surface, on November 13, 2014

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