EnVision Mission to Venus
Recently, European Space Agency (ESA) has announced a new mission- EnVision mission to Venus.
- It is an European Space Agency (ESA) led mission with contributions from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
- It is likely to be launched sometime in the 2030s.Once launched on an Ariane 6 rocket, the spacecraft will take about 15 months to reach Venus and will take 16 more months to achieve orbit circularisation.
- The mission will carry a range of instruments to study the planet’s atmosphere and surface, monitor trace gases in the atmosphere and analyze its surface composition.
- Envision will follow another ESA-led mission to Venus called ‘Venus Express’ (2005-2014) that focused on atmospheric research and pointed to volcanic hotspots on the planet’s surface.
Other Missions to Venus:
- United State:
- NASA has announced two new robotic missions to Venus – DAVINCI + and VERITAS. It will be launched between 2028-2030.
- Mariner series 1962-1974, Pioneer Venus 1 and Pioneer Venus 2 in 1978, Magellan in 1989.
- Venera series of space crafts 1967-1983, Vegas 1 and 2 in 1985.
- Akatsuki spacecraft has been studying the planet’s atmosphere since 2015.
- Indian Initiative:
- India plans to launch a new orbiter named Shukrayaan to Venus in 2024.
Importance of Studying Venus:
- It will help to learn how Earth-like planets evolve and what conditions exist on Earth-sized exoplanet (planets that orbit a star other than our sun).
- It will help in modelling Earth’s climate, and serves as a cautionary tale on how dramatically a planet’s climate can change.
- Scientists speculate about the existence of life on Venus in its distant past and the possibility that life may exist in the top layers of its clouds where temperatures are less extreme.
- In 2020, scientists detected the Presence of phosphine (a chemical produced only through biological processes) in the atmosphere of Venus.