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Aiming to create a new academic field through the university-based micro-planetary exploration project

Message by Director

Director HOSHINO Masahiro Prof.

  Recent development of astronomical science and technology in Japan has been absolutely remarkable: The Subaru telescope gave us direct images of extrasolar planets, the Arase geospace probe directly observed the cause of production of pulsating auroras, and Hayabusa 2 successfully soft-landed on a C-type asteroid Ryugu, where researchers of the University of Tokyo played a leading role.

  In the research field of ultra-small satellites the University of Tokyo succeeded in developing and constructing 10 satellites and launching 9 of those, where the Graduate School of Engineering played a key role. Particularly they successfully started to utilize a satellite of 1 kg as well as a deep space probe of 50 kg class for the first time in the world, manifesting them as world front runners in this field. Regarding observation on land, researchers of the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences took the initiative in settling an antenna at the Kashiwa campus and started to utilize it to receive the data from the satellites. The University of Tokyo also contributes to develop a wide-view camera attached to the Kiso Schmidt telescope in order to greatly enhance the ability to search asteroids and meteors, and is constructing the 6.5 m TAO telescope in Chili to observe infrared radiation from solar and extrasolar planets with its leading initiative manifested in the world.

  In 2017 the University of Tokyo established Organization for Planetary Space Science (UTOPS) attached to the Graduate School of Science with the intention that the university promotes extensively both planetary science and space science and educates young students as talented human resources. The Graduate School of Frontier Science is in the course of establishing academic infrastructure of the system of education and research based on collaboration of science and technology, such as organizing Deep Space Education Program. In 2018 the university started to open the International Graduate School for Excellence in Earth-Space Science through utilizing the above infrastructure to create an inter-department cross-sectional education program that covers the Graduate School of Science, the Graduate School of Engineering, and the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences.

  The university has made a great advance not only in education of young human resources but also practical application of the earth observation, space science, and space probe, so that it develops intense collaboration between the university and industries, such as practical utilization of big data, establishing venture companies, and collaboration with individual companies.

  The organization, having collected top-level researchers in various fields with strong partnership in the university rein forced, aims to create novel academic fields utilizing observation of atmosphere of extrasolar planets and to advance the university project of ultra-small planetary probes, which are promoted based on joint collaboration among the Graduate Schools of Science, Engineering, and Frontier Sciences.