Mars who? Hot on the heels of go-ahead to its own mission., the European Space Agency is hopping on board the Venus train by giving the
Earth and Venus have been called twins, but Earth grew up into a life-friendly water world while Venus became an inferno of a planet with sulfuric acid clouds. The new mission, called EnVision, will provide “a holistic view of the planet from its inner core to upper atmosphere to determine how and why Venus and Earth evolved so differently.”
ESA isn’t going it alone. NASA will be a collaborator and provide a radar instrument called Vensar to make high-resolution measurements of the planet’s surface. EnVision will also monitor atmospheric gases, analyze the surface composition and look for signs of active volcanoes.
Venus’ atmosphere is a particularly intriguing study target after a— which sometimes has a biological origin — may be present in the planet’s clouds. , even stopped by to take some measurements in late 2020. Researchers are wondering if Venus once was habitable, or might even host some form of microbial life now.
NASA’s own Veritas and Davinci+ missions are targeting a 2028 to 2030 launch, while ESA is looking at the early 2030s for takeoff for EnVision. The next step in development is to finalize the designs of the spacecraft and its science instruments.
“Together with the newly announced NASA-led Venus missions, we will have an extremely comprehensive science program at this enigmatic planet well into the next decade,” said ESA director of science Günther Hasinger in a statement on Thursday.
It’s not just NASA and ESA that are in on the Venus action either. The Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, have. It is designed to study the atmosphere of Venus and was launched back in 2010.
Mars doesn’t need to worry. There’s plenty of planetary love to go around.
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