Carl Sagan once said that Venus is a planet in our solar system. Like hell. So when will you go back?
Monday’s Astronomer It reported that the chemical phosphine was detected in the acidic Venus cloud., Could be a possible sign of life. That makes some planetary scientists itchy back to the second planet of the sun. Especially People who feel Venus has long been overlooked for Mars And other destinations.
“If this planet is active and producing phosphine and there is something that is making it in Venus’ atmosphere, forget the ridiculous sound of Mars from Almighty God,” said Paul Byrne, planetary scientist at North Carolina State University. “We need a lander, a tracker, we need a program.”
Venus is not easy to visit. The carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere is 90 times denser than ours, and the surface temperature averages 800 degrees Fahrenheit. The surface pressure is strong enough to destroy some submarines.
But that didn’t stop the human space program from trying. About 40 robotic spaceships What was initiated by the governments on Earth attempted to visit Venus in some way. Here’s a quick return to the planet to see the highlights of our past trip to Venus and what’s going on in those clouds.
Many Soviet visitors to Venus
In 1961, the Soviet space program began exploring Venus. In the decades that followed, they launched dozens of spacecraft into the world, also known as the Earth Twin. The Soviet exploration of Venus began with many true stories, but the country became the first person to land a spacecraft on another world, and shortly afterward it became the first person to be photographed from the surface of another planet. Their engineering performance was also important to modern standards.
After seeing the first spacecraft sent into a canistered atmosphere, the Soviets realized how intense pressure on Venus was. This trial and error resulted in a five-ton metal spacecraft built to withstand enormous surface pressures in just an hour.
Venera 4 became the first spacecraft to measure the atmosphere of another planet in 1967, detecting large amounts of carbon dioxide causing the constant Venus greenhouse effect.
Then, in 1975, the country’s Venera 9 probe took the first images from the surface of another planet. The world has officially met Venus. Image it Missions sent later revealed a planet unlike any other. Blurry and diluted neon green light. The planets we thought were covered by oceans, and planets similar to us were alien worlds with poison rain instead.
Later missions from the Venera series to the 1980s gave scientists a better understanding of the planet’s geological processes. Both Venera 11 and 12 detected large amounts of lightning and thunder as they moved to the surface. Both Venera 13 and 14 were equipped with microphones that recorded the sound going down to the surface, making them the first spacecraft to record audio from another planet.
In 1985, the Soviet Union completed a Venus encounter with two Vega spacecraft, each releasing a large balloon equipped with scientific equipment, demonstrating the potential of a probe floating in the planet’s clouds.
At the end of the Cold War, the launch to Venus was stopped as the Soviet space program slowed. The Russian space program Discuss the future exploration of Venus, The concept did not deviate from the drawing board.
NASA was also interested in Venus.
Mars has always looked like an apple to the eyes of American space programmers, but the Mariner and Pioneer programs of the 1960s and 70s made time for Venus.
Mariner 2 was the first American spacecraft to arrive on Venus in 1962. The temperature was higher in the clouds, but very hot on the surface.
The 1978 Pioneer mission showed American researchers in more detail. The first pair orbited the planet for almost 14 years, revealing a lot about the mysterious Venus atmosphere. They also observed that the surface is smoother than Earth and Venus has little or no magnetic field. The second Pioneer mission sent several probes into Venus’ atmosphere, returning information about cloud structures and radar readings from the surface.
NASA’s Magellan entered orbit in 1990 and for four years mapped the surface and looked for evidence of plate tectonics. It found that nearly 85% of the surface was covered with old lava flows, suggesting considerable past and present potential for volcanic activity.
It is also the last visitor to the United States, despite the fact that many NASA spacecraft used Venus as a slingshot when heading to other destinations.
Other visitors to venus
Venus Express was launched in 2005 by the European Space Agency. It has orbited the planet for eight years and has observed that it may still be geologically active.
The only guest from Earth right now AkatsukiThe probe was launched by Japan in 2010. The probe missed a meeting with Venus because the engine heading into orbit was not launched. Until 2015, the manager of the mission was able to steer it on the course of orbiting and studying the Earth.
Since then, it has changed the way scientists see cloud twins. A study of the physics of Venus’ dense cloud layers revealed that the mission was interfering with the planet’s winds. Known as gravitational waves, As well as its atmospheric enemy jet stream.
Many missions have been proposed to return to Venus, and some space agencies have declared their ambitions to visit the planet. However, it is difficult to say who will travel.
The Indian Space Agency has proposed a mission called Shukrayaan-1, which orbits the planet and will focus primarily on the chemistry of the atmosphere.
Peter Beck, founder of Rocket Lab, a private company originating in New Zealand, recently launched about a dozen rockets into space. Send a small satellite to the planet.
NASA has considered several Venus proposals over the past decade, including two in 2017, which were the finalists of NASA’s Discovery program, which previously sent explorers to the Moon, Mars, Mercury and other destinations. But the agency instead You have chosen a pair of asteroid missions..
Also in 2017, for the bigger and more expensive New Frontiers competition NASA considered a Venus mission Called Venus In situ Composition Investigations or Vici, they tried to place two landers on the planet’s surface. that is Send plutonium-powered drones to fly over Titans, Saturn’s largest moon.
However, NASA provided funding for some of the technology Vici needed. And Venus supporters could have new supporters inside NASA. Vici’s lead investigator, Lori S. Glaze, is now the head of NASA’s Planetary Sciences Division.
The agency will have another opportunity to select Venus missions to fund the next round of the discovery program.
Two Venus spaceships named DAVINCI + and Veritas, Compete with the proposed mission. Neptune’s Moon Triton or Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io. NASA has a choice of two out of four finalists. And there may be other possibilities for Venus visitors.
“We also have to recognize that Venus is a planetary destination that we can reach with even small missions,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, director of NASA’s Scientific Missions Department.
Kenneth Chang contributed to the reporting.
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