akatsuki lost many functions.http://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Science/Venus-finally-in-sight-for-JAXA-s-once-wayward-Akatsuki-probe
Five months since a belated arrival at Venus, Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft has officially started a modified scientific survey of the sweltering, shrouded planet’s atmosphere and climate.The probe’s science cameras are collecting regular images of Venus’s exotic clouds, and Japanese engineers are optimistic Akatsuki can remain operational for at least two years, and perhaps through 2020.
Using the Akatsuki spacecraft, Japanese scientists have detected a large, bow-shaped anomaly in the upper atmosphere of Venus. Strangely, the 6,200-mile-long structure is refusing to budge despite the 225 mile-per-hour winds that surround it.Researchers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science believe the phenomenon is the largest stationary “gravity wave” ever recorded in the solar system. Emanating from the mountains below, the unusual weather phenomenon is strong enough to withstand ferocious background winds, causing an enormous bow-like structure to hang in the upper atmosphere like a gigantic scar.
Based on advanced computer modelling, the team thinks moving air caused by polar jet streams, similar to those on Earth, could be responsible for these irregularities – which can stretch some 10,000 kilometres (more than 6,200 miles) across.The patterns are slowly coming into view thanks to the infrared scanning technology on board the Akatsuki space probe: it's able to peer beneath the thick clouds of sulfuric acid, 45-70 kilometres (28-43 miles) high, which usually keep the surface and lower cloud cover of Venus out of view of our telescopes.
The flash seen by the spacecraft Akatsuki, which means “Dawn” in Japanese, was revealed by planetary scientist Yukihiro Takahashi of Hokkaido University at this year’s gathering of the American Geophysical Union. Takahashi’s team suspects it was either a powerful lightning strike, roughly 10 times more energetic than lightning on Earth, or a large meteor that exploded in the planet’s atmosphere.The flash was spotted by the craft’s Lightning and Airglow Camera, an instrument that has been scanning the clouds of Venus for five years—only now picking up its first flash of light. It’s one of the most promising signs of lightning on Venus, but the team is still analyzing the data, and the members have declined to talk about the research until it has been published in a peer-reviewed paper.