Ex­plo­ration of Venus

All About Space - - Venus -

Hu­man­ity has sent space­craft all over the So­lar Sys­tem, and Venus is no ex­cep­tion. Although it hasn’t had the at­ten­tion of Mars, Venus has still had its share of spies. The first came in 1962 when Venus had its first vis­i­tor in the form of NASA’s Mariner 2 space probe. This was the first suc­cess­ful space­craft to an­other planet, beat­ing the Soviet Union’s Ven­era and Zond projects. How­ever, the Sovi­ets' Ven­era 7 be­came the first space­craft ever to trans­mit data from the sur­face of Venus – for a to­tal of 23 min­utes. Ven­era 7 re­vealed the planet’s scorch­ing sur­face tem­per­a­tures, crush­ing at­mo­spheric pres­sures and a sur­face wind speed of 2.5 me­tres per sec­ond (nearly 5.6 miles per hour). Over ten years later, Ven­era 13 be­came the first lan­der to trans­mit colour im­ages from the sur­face of Venus.

How­ever, there was still so much more to learn about this mys­te­ri­ously boil­ing planet. The ma­jor space agen­cies such as NASA, the Eu­ro­pean Space Agency (ESA) and the Ja­pan Aero­space Ex­plo­ration Agency (JAXA) have all had a peep.

NASA had the Mag­el­lan space probe and the Pioneer Venus project, ac­tive be­tween the years 1978 and 1994; ESA had its Venus Ex­press or­biter ac­tive be­tween 2006 and 2015 and, af­ter a de­layed or­bital in­ser­tion, JAXA even­tu­ally placed its Akat­suki or­biter into or­bit around Venus in 2015, where it cur­rently re­mains.

Venus is vis­ited by space­craft rel­a­tively fre­quently as it is best used as a ‘grav­i­ta­tional sling­shot’, pro­vid­ing a grav­i­ta­tional boost to space­craft fly­ing to­wards their next des­ti­na­tion. NASA’s re­cently launched Parker So­lar Probe is one such space­craft. How­ever, sci­en­tists and en­gi­neers are com­ing up with new and cre­ative ways of ex­plor­ing other plan­ets, with NASA even award­ing a con­tract to a drone­spe­cial­ist com­pany, called Black Swift Tech­nolo­gies, to de­velop a drone that can ex­plore the up­per at­mos­phere of Venus. The main rea­son be­hind this is that sci­en­tists now think that the most ideal con­di­tions for life as we know it to sur­vive on Venus re­sides in the cloud tops.

Fly­ing drones on the clouds of Venus is an in­no­va­tive way of col­lect­ing close-up data about our sis­ter planet

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.