A Japanese probe reached Venus on Tuesday and prepared to enter orbit on a two-year mission that would mark a major milestone for Japan's space program and could shed light on the climate of Earth's mysterious neighbor.
The probe, called Akatsuki, which means "dawn," would be the first Japan has ever placed into orbit around another planet and comes after the country recently brought a probe back from a trip to an asteroid.
Other space programs, including the Americans' and the Europeans', have successfully orbited other planets, The Associated Press reports.
The "Akatsuki", or "Dawn", was launched in May with the brief of observing Venus's toxic atmosphere and volcanic surface.
But rather than entering the planet's gravitational pull the golden box-shaped probe shot past it, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.
Emphasising that ground control near Tokyo was still in control of the craft, JAXA spokesman Hitoshi Soeno said: "It will come close to Venus again in roughly six years, giving us another opportunity," according to Telegraph.co.uk.