Kunihiro ITO Kunihiro ITO Kunihiro ITO

 It is a chance for you. You might notice something what everyone had missed.



1.What kind of the research are you doing?

The evolution of Mars is a current main topic. It is believed that Mars underwent drastic climate change where its environment had changed from warm and wet to cold and dry. What intrigue me most are the atmospheric evolution of the Mars and understanding the history of Martian habitability. About 20 years ago, I was working on the Japanese first Mars mission, Nozomi spacecraft, which was terminated on the way due to electric failures and did not reach to Mars. This changed my way. I decided to develop my dedicated instrument for re-challenge to Mars. It has been now accomplished and operated at the top of Mt. Haleakala, Hawaii. Thanks to many talented international/domestic colleagues, I’m engaged on the most advanced Mars space-born mission in the world. My prospective research is for the next Japanese Mars mission, MMX (Mars Moon eXploration), which will be launched on 2024, under the collaboration with Department of Earth Science of Tohoku University and Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale in France. MMX will reveal the origin of Mars and its evolution.

2.What is the reason for starting your study?

I wanted to be a scientist since I was in an elementary school. It was a beautiful starry night in the country side of Niigata which did lead me to this field. The planetarium my father often brought me in the past also motivated me to go for space. I have more interests in neighborhood planets in the solar system, which I or my products can possibly reach. As a result of various paths (a company employee, Moon exploration,,,,), I’m back to work on Mars exploration after getting Ph.D. degree. My dream has come true. My re-challenge for Mars has begun.

3.Message for prospective students

There are various possibilities in the university and afterward. I believe that university is the place where you learn the way to become a pioneer. It would be great if you recognize your own one to which you can deeply devote yourself. I believe that one who never gives up can fulfill a dream. The most important thing is to find your only ones and grow them for your future. A human-relationship is always fundamental in any field. I am lucky in having many wonderful friends and colleagues in the world. I feel that our science and our knowledge are based on continuous efforts by people in history. “Each human being is a link in a chain - - a chain that extends from the distant past into the future. [To You Who Will Live in the 21st Century, Ryotaro Shiba]”