Europe joining NASA for Venus ‘triple crown’ probing the planet’s mysteries

Japan already is. NASA is sending two spacecraft at the end of the decade. Now Europe has flagged off a mission to the planet Hell.

Earth and Venus are not really that close to each other. This illustration shows the EnVision spacecraft, which will look into how the two planets evolved so differently from each other.

Who’s Mars? hot on the heels of NASA announces two new Venus missions, the European Space Agency is boarding the Venus train as it advances its own mission.

Earth and Venus have been said to be twins, but Earth evolved into a water world conducive to life, while Venus became a hell of a planet with sulfuric acid clouds. The new mission, called EnVision, “will provide a holistic view from the planet’s inner core to the upper atmosphere to determine how and why Venus and Earth evolved so differently.”

ESA is not going it alone. NASA will be a collaborator and will provide a radar instrument called Vensar to make high-resolution measurements of the planet’s surface. EnVision will also monitor atmospheric gases, analyze surface composition and look for signs of active volcanoes.

Venus’s atmosphere is a particularly interesting study target 2020 paper suggested gas phosphine – which sometimes has a biological origin – may be present in the planet’s clouds. Another spacecraft on its way to Mercury, BepiColombo, also stopped at the end of 2020 to take some measurements. Researchers are wondering whether Venus was once habitable, or may now even host some sort of microbial life.

NASA’s own Veritas and DaVinci+ missions are targeting a launch from 2028 to 2030, while ESA is looking for takeoff for EnVision in the early 2030s. The next step in development is to finalize the design of the spacecraft and its science instruments.

“With the newly announced NASA-led Venus mission, we will have an extremely comprehensive science program on this enigmatic planet over the next decade,” ESA’s science director Günther Hasinger said in a statement Thursday.

It’s not just NASA and ESA that are on Venus action as well. The Japanese space agency, JAXA, has A spacecraft in orbit around the planet of Hell known as Akatsuki. It is designed to study the atmosphere of Venus and was launched back in 2010.

Mars need not worry. There are so many planets love to visit.

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