Venus Is the New Hotpot for Space Agencies,ESA to Send Probe to Study the Planet

On June 10th, the European Space Agency (ESA) stated that it will send a new orbiter named EnVision to study our neighbor, Venus. The news comes just over a week after NASA announced its two forthcoming missions, DAVINCI+ and VERITAS. Working together, the trio of new spacecraft will provide a comprehensive study of the hellish planet, from its inner core to the upper atmosphere.
ESA will send an orbiter to study our not-so-neighborly Venus 1 photo
Photo: NASA / JAXA / ISAS / DARTS / Damia Bouic / VR2Planets
Even though our next-door neighbor is about the same size as the Earth and has roughly the same composition, it actually has a thick, toxic atmosphere filled with carbon dioxide, and it's covered by yellowish clouds of sulfuric acid that trap heat, causing a greenhouse effect.

So what happened on Venus to get to this point? Will Earth have the same fate if the greenhouse effect gets out of control? Is Venus still active geologically? Was there ever life present on its surface?

These are the question scientists are trying to respond to. For the mission, EnVision will be equipped with tools that include a sounder that will study the underground layering of the planet and spectrometers that will analyze the atmosphere and the surface composition, looking for any signs of volcanic activity.

As a partner in the mission, NASA will provide the VenSAR instrument, which will make high-resolution measurements of the planet's surface features. Together with DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) and VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) missions, the new observations will also offer data about how Venus evolved over time.

"The combined results of EnVision and our Discovery missions will tell us how the forces of volcanism, tectonics and chemical weathering joined together to create and sustain Venus' runaway hothouse climate," explains Tom Wagner, a scientist at NASA's Discovery Program.

According to ESA, the next step for EnVision is to move into a design phase. After its design is completed, the orbiter will be built and thoroughly tested before it will embark on its journey to Venus aboard an Ariane 6 rocket.

EnVision's earliest launch date is set for 2031, with possible launch windows in 2032 and 2033. It would take roughly 15 months for the spacecraft to reach the planet and another 16 months to reach orbit circularisation.

Video thumbnail
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
press release
About the author: Florina Spînu
Florina Spînu profile photo

Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories