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Research Center for Space Science

Innovative features of the Center

Space research has been developed remarkably in recent years, as represented by the success beyond expectations of the space probe Hayabusa, and the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe, which won the Nobel Prize in Physics. Going beyond the limits of conventional space science, the field is rapidly expanding to embrace the peripheral fields of particle physics and physical chemistry. Because of this, research exchange and close collaboration across a range of related disciplines has become essential. By combining efforts of many groups engaged in space-related study, this research center is deepening collaboration between departments and has strong potential to significantly extend its research capabilities. In terms of scale and research results, this center is one of Japan’s leading space science research bases.

Researchers at the center are currently generating many results, including carrying out neutrino oscillation experiments using nuclear reactors and accelerators (Double Chooz, T2K), and search experiments on neutrino-less Drift Chamber Beta-ray Analyzer (DCBA) to further advance research on neutrino mass, and research on the measurement of x-rays from solar wind multivalent ions and the cooling process of interstellar molecular ions. We also had significant responsibility as a core presence alongside JAXA and NASA in a large project centered on JAXA with more than 60 universities and research institutions from seven countries participating. This project launched the scientific satellite Hitomi (ASTRO-H) in February this year. In particular, we were jointly responsible in US-Japan collaboration for the development of a very low temperature x-ray detector to be used in a satellite for the first time in the world, and for data processing equipment and performance verification. Even though the mission was terminated early, the very low temperature x-ray detector measured the turbulent motion of intracluster medium for the first time. Focused on this center, we will hold international conferences and seminars gathering many researchers from overseas and open lecture meetings for the general public.