ESA and NASA will work together in a “triple crown” moment for Venusian science.
Who’s Mars? hot on the heels of, the European Space Agency is getting aboard the Venus train as it advances its own mission, called EnVision.
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. 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– which sometimes has a biological origin – may be present in the planet’s clouds. 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.
Mars need not worry. There are so many planets love to visit.
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