Basic Information

School of Computer Science and Engineering, and ARC-Space, CAIST (concurrent)
Senior Associate Professor
Web site


Courses - Undergraduate
P1 Intro. ProgrammingP2 C Programing
Courses - Graduate
ITA22 Fundamental Data Analysis in Lunar and Planetary Explorations (Coordinator)ITA23 Practical Data Analysis with Lunar and Planetary DatabasesITA19 Reliable System for Lunar and Planetary Explorations (Coordinator)SEA11 Software Engineering for Space Programs


Planetary SciencesLunar and Planetary ExplorationData Visualization and Analysis Software for Lunar and Planetary ExplorationEducational Background, BiographyEducation:Doctor of Science, 1998, University of Tsukuba, TsukubaM.A. in Science, 1995, University of Tsukuba, TsukubaB.A. in Science, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba
Educational Background, Biography
Research and Teaching Experiences:
Associate Professor (Apr. 2007 - present),
Assistant Professor (Apr. 2006 - Mar. 2007),
    School of Computer Science and Engineering, and ARC-Space, CAIST (concurrent, Apr. 2009 - present), The University of Aizu.
COE Research Fellow (Oct.2003 - Jun.2006) School of Science and Technology, Kobe University.
COE Research Fellow (May.2003 - Sep.2003) Research Division for Planetary Science, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS)
Research Fellow (Mar.1998 - Apr.2003) Lunar Mission Laboratory, National Space Development Agency (NASDA)
Current Research Theme
Shape modeling of asteroids with exploration dataVisualization of asteroid exploration data by 3-dimensional geographic information systemStudy on impact cratering process on lunar and planetary bodies
Key Topic
Planetary sciences, Moon, Asteroids, Shape modeling, Impact craters
Affiliated Academic Society
Japan Society for Planetary SciencesJapan Geoscience UnionAmerican Geophysical Union


School days' Dream
Current Dream
Favorite Books
Messages for Students
Publications other than one's areas of specialization
2015 The Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Prizes for Science and Techonology: Public Understanding Promotion Category)

Main research

Student Cooperative Class Project: Lunar and Planetary Data Analysis

Student Cooperative Class Project: Lunar and Planetary Data Analysis

View this research

Developing analytic software for lunar and planetary exploration data

Japan's lunar and planetary exploration projects have already generated a lot of observation data, as seen from its Hayabusa asteroid explorer project and Kaguya lunar explorer project. To get the most out of this valuable asset, software will be required that assists with analyzing all that data, helping researchers to advance their scientific analyses across a broad front.
We are investigating technologies that enable the visualization of complex data in an easy to understand fashion, and technologies that will let researchers spot really important pieces of information from a huge mass of data.

View this research

Asteroid Explorer Hayabusa2

Many members from the University of Aizu, in particular faculty members from CAIST/ARC-Space, have been involved with Hayabusa 2, the asteroid explorer launched by JAXA in 2014. Our University's members have been conducting research in connection with this project in anticipation of Hayabusa 2's arrival at the asteroid 162173 Ryugu in 2018, to be followed by its return to Earth in 2020. Specifically teams at the University have been engaged in developing observation instruments, which include the near infrared spectrometer installed on Hayabusa 2, and in developing analytic software that will model the shape of the asteroid based on data captured by the probe's observation instruments.

JAXA Hayabusa 2 project website

*Material from JAXA's digital archives has been used for the banner images, etc.

View this research

Promotion of Space Software from UoA! (Factories for Start-Up Ventures, etc.)

Educational Project supported by Coordination Funds for Promoting AeroSpace Utilizaiton MEXT.
O02-2 Factories for Start-Up Ventures no.2 Space Utilization of Remote Sensing Data, CFS Creative Factory Seminar, O03 SCCP Lunar and Planetary Data Analysis & Tanpopo on ISS, and delivery lectures for junior/senior highschool students.

View this research

Project: The Tanpopo cosmic dust collector on the International Space Station

It is possible that the cosmic dust floating throughout space contains either actual microorganisms, or the organic compounds that form them. Japan's Tanpopo project is an experiment in astrobiology which will see a special collector attached to the International Space Station that will capture such cosmic dust. The Tanpopo project is being conducted by a number of universities and research institutions including the University of Aizu, and in particular faculty members and student advisees from our CAIST/ARC-Space and Image Processing Course are taking part, along with Student Cooperative Class Project (SCCP) participants. The team is developing software that will pick out cosmic dust particles using image processing based on micrographs from the collector made up of an ultra-low density materials called Silica aerogel. The team is also developing a device that will cut off the collectors that contain the cosmic dust.
For more on the Tanpopo Project (external link):

View this research

Scientific analysis of earth, lunar and planetary remote sensing data

So that we may learn more about the formation and the future evolution of our solar system, it is extremely important to analyze the remote sensing data captured by lunar and planetary explorers and earth observation satellites. Deploying software technology for analyzing data researched and accumulated by the University, our teams are making new discoveries in the field of earth planetary science and conducting further research into disaster prevention and the environment.

View this research

Dissertation and Published Works

Hirata, N., Kawamae, W., Dang, T.A., Kitazato, K., Demura, H., Asada, N., 2012, Archive and Analysis system for observation data of irregular-shaped small bodies on polygon shape models, Journal of Space Science Informatics Japan 1, 133-140.

Guttler, C., Hirata, N., Nakamura, A.M., 2012, Cratering experiments on the self armoring of coarse-grained granular targets, Icarus 220, 1040-1049.

Hirata, N., Kurita, K., Sekine, T., 2009, Simulation experiments for shocked primitive materials in the Solar System, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 174, 227-241.

Hirata, N., Barnouin-Jha, O.S., Honda, C., Nakamura, R., Miyamoto, H., Sasaki, S., Demura, H., Nakamura, A.M., Michikami, T., Gaskell, R.W., Saito, J., 2009, A survey of possible impact structures on 25143 Itokawa, Icarus 200, 486-502.

Miyamoto, H., Yano, H., Scheeres, D.J., Abe, S., Barnoiun-Jha, O.S., Cheng, A.F., Demura, H., Gaskell, R.W., Hirata, N., Ishiguro, M., Michikami, T., Nakamura, A.M., Nakamura, R., Saito, J., Sasaki, S., 2007, Regolith Migration and Sorting on Asteroid Itokawa, Science 316, 1011-1014.

Abe, S., Mukai, T., Hirata, N., Barnouin-Jha, O.S., Cheng, A.F., Demura, H., Gaskell, R.W., Hashimoto, T., Hiraoka, K., Honda, T., Kubota, T., Matsuoka, M., Mizuno, T., Nakamura, R., Scheeres, D.J., Yoshikawa, M., 2006, Mass and Local Topography Measurements of Itokawa by Hayabusa, Science 312, 1344-1347.

Hirata, N., Nakamura, A.M., 2006, Secondary craters of Tycho: Size-frequency distributions and estimated fragment size-velocity relationships, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets) 111, 3005.