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Japan’s first planetary orbiter Akatsuki is now sending back images of Venus from close up, and the folks at the Planetary Society have posted a nicely detailed Akatsuki Mission Status Report on their web site which includes those pictures. Besides telling us about the satellites current status, they also give some information about its mission as the Venus Climate Orbiter and the three cameras that are its primary data gathering instruments. There was also some background on the JAXA planetary orbiter history, of which this mission is the first success, and a translation of their press conference announcing the achievement. While I would personally rather move to Mars, the knowledge we can gain from studying the weather dynamics on Venus will be very useful in better understanding our own.