- The European Space Agency is sending a mission to study Venus
- Known as EnVision, the mission is targeting a launch in the early 2030s
- NASA recently announced DAVINCI + and VERITAS missions to the second planet of the solar system
- EnVision will focus on the nature of Venus, looking at the planet’s ‘tessera’, the planet equivalent to Earth’s continents
- It will also study its underground layers and monitor trace gases in the atmosphere, looking for signs of active volcanic activity.
- It is likely to be launched in 2031 at the earliest, with 15-month travel possibilities in 2032 and 2033 as well
Just days after NASA announced it would send two missions to study Venus, the European Space Agency has joined the party.
On Thursday, ESA said it would send a probe known as EnVision to study ‘Earth’s evil twin’, targeting a launch in the early 2030s.
NASA’s missions to the Solar System’s second planets DAVINCI+ and VERITAS will launch within the next 10 years.
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Günther Hasinger, ESA’s director of science, said: ‘A new era awaits us in the search for our nearest, yet wildly different, neighbor to the Solar System. Statement.
‘With the newly announced NASA-led Venus missions, we will have an extremely comprehensive science program on this enigmatic planet over the next decade.’
In 2019, researchers said Venus may have had a stable temperature in its past and ‘liquid water’ for 2 to 3 billion years, similar to Earth.
About 700 million years ago, it went through a ‘dramatic change’ – possibly due to volcanic eruptions – that completely changed the planet and resulted in what is now considered a hellish atmosphere.
Venus currently has a surface temperature of 864 degrees Fahrenheit and in some parts of the planet, the ground glows red.
It also rotates backwards, with the sun rising in the west and setting in the east.
The European Space Agency said it would send a probe, known as EnVision, to study Venus, joining NASA’s announcement earlier this month.
The mission, which is targeting a launch in the early 2030s, will help explain why Venus turned into a boiling hot planet, sometimes referred to as ‘Earth’s evil twin’.
The two space agencies will work together on their respective missions, especially on sharing equipment.
‘The three missions are highly complementary’, said Dr Philip Mason, an Envision science team member from Imperial College London, UK. BBC News.
Adriana Ocampo, EnVision Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters, said in a statement: ‘EnVision’s Vensar will provide a unique perspective with its targeted study of the surface of Venus, which will enrich the roadmap for Venus exploration. separate statement Issued by NASA.
EnVision is expected to focus on the nature of Venus, given the planet’s ‘tessera’, the planet’s equivalent of Earth’s continents.
It will also study the planet’s underground layers and monitor trace gases in the atmosphere, looking for signs of active volcanic activity.
“ESA’s EnVision mission will provide unparalleled high-resolution imaging and polarimetry capabilities,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.
EnVision (pictured), could launch as early as 2031, but could also go into orbit in 2032 or 2033, ESA said
EnVision will take about 15 months to reach Venus and then 16 months to orbit the planet
The EnVision covers 220 km and 540 km in 92 minutes. can orbit Venus at an altitude of between
‘High-resolution images of many dynamic processes on Mars profoundly changed the way we think about the Red Planet, and similar-scale images have the potential to do the same for Venus.’
From here, ESA will move into the ‘definition phase’ of the project, in which the design and equipment of the orbiter will be finalized.
After that, a contractor will be selected to build and test the EnVision, with the BBC reporting that Airbus UK is ‘in a strong position’ to assemble a final test.
It could be launched in 2031 at the earliest, with 15-month travel prospects in 2032 and 2033 as well.
EnVision will help researchers learn why Venus is so different from Earth, if it’s still volcanically active and if it can teach us about planets outside the solar system
ESA said that after reaching Venus, it will spend 16 months orbiting the planet, entering a ‘quasi-polar’ orbit with altitudes ranging from 220 km to 540 km and traveling around the planet in 92 minutes.
The first of two NASA missions, DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) will measure the atmosphere of Venus to understand how it formed and evolved and determine whether there ever was an ocean.
It will also look for noble gases – such as helium, neon, argon and krypton – in its atmosphere and find out why it is a ‘runaway hothouse’ compared to Earth.
The other mission, VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) will map the surface of Venus and look at its geologic history in an effort to find out why it evolved so differently than Earth did.
NASA said it would use a synthetic aperture radar and a “chart of surface height over nearly the entire planet” to see if plate tectonics and volcanic activity was still occurring on the planet.
In 2020, scientists caused a stir when they said that trace amounts of phosphine gas, a colorless gas that is mainly produced naturally by some microorganisms in the absence of oxygen, were discovered.
However, those hopes would have been dashed when a separate study said it was not phosphine, but ‘ordinary’ sulfur dioxide.
Characterization of droplets of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid in the atmosphere of Venus
The atmosphere of Venus consists mainly of carbon dioxide, with clouds of sulfuric acid droplets.
The dense atmosphere traps the Sun’s heat, resulting in surface temperatures exceeding 470 °C (880 °F).