Naming of Geological Features of the Asteroid "Itokawa" Based on a Journal Paper Including Faculty Members from the University of Aizu

Nomenclature proposals for geological features on the surface of the asteroid "Itokawa" were officially approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Itokawa was observed by the spacecraft "HAYABUSA," and the University of Aizu has contributed to this HAYABUSA project.
Assistant Professor Naru Hirata and Assistant Professor Hirohide Demura of the Multimedia Systems Laboratory and their co-researchers analyzed observation data from HAYABUSA and researched Itokawa's surface. Based on research achievements published in the scientific journal "Icarus" (Primary author: Naru Hirata), the IAU approved names for 10 craters and 4 regions of Itokawa and officially accepted to use of names.
The HAYABUSA project team discussed the nomenclature proposals for the surface of Itokawa based on Assistant Professor Hirata's research paper and then submitted the proposals to IAU. The team received advice from Associate Professor Junichi Watanabe of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, who is from Aizu, during this process.
Clear definitions which can withstand standards for refereed scientific journals are necessary for nomenclature of celestial bodies. The research paper written by Assistant Professor Hirata et al. revealed crater existence and other characteristics of terrain on Itokawa surfaces that made it possible to approve the nomenclature proposal.
Their research published in a journal revealed sizes, distributions and geological characteristics of impact craters on Itokawa, which were based on analyses of images sent by HAYABUSA and models created based on those images using shope-modeling technology of the University. Compared to impact craters on the moon which are fairly typical example of craters, impact craters on Itokawa were extremely shallow and many of them showed irregular circles. The results of this research on the crater characteristics provide an important key to finding information on the origin, evolution and internal structure of Itokawa.

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The University of Aizu "HAYABUSA" project team has made significant contributions to lunar/planetary explorations through terrain analysis using observation data from space. Please click on the following links to view articles on past research achievements made by the team.