New details about ESA’s Venusian mission
In the years to come, the planet Venus will be visited by a number of spacecraft including that of the European space agency ESA. The latter is currently preparing sending an orbiter towards the second planet in the solar system. In a recent press release, ESA gave details about the future missionnotably using the planet’s atmosphere to slow down the probe.
ESA’s mission to Venus is called EnVision. In its press release, the agency spoke of the different difficulties which were to be expected. The hardest, according to officials, will be dealing with Venus’ “dense, high-temperature atmosphere”. The planet’s atmosphere is indeed made of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid fumes, which makes Venus the hottest planet in the Solar System.
ESA intends to use the atmosphere of Venus to slow down its probe using the aerobraking process. This means that it will take an effective strategy to be able to take advantage of the Venusian atmosphere without putting the spacecraft in danger.
Find the best strategy
Currently, ESA scientists are working on the best method of aerobraking. This process will serve to brake the spacecraft enough so that it can lower its orbit until it is just above the inner edge of the atmosphere.
At this level, the probe will try to collect as much data as possible on the planet. According to Thomas Voirin, director of studies at EnVision, the device will go down to an altitude of 149 km to get the best images. For this, the machine will have to be able to withstand the extreme conditions of the atmosphere.
ESA engineers are currently testing different materials and various types of coating to be able to protect the instruments that will be on board.
Venus, the new target
Several space agencies plan to send a probe to Venus within the next few years. Apart from ESA’s EnVision mission, which will reach the planet in the early 2030s, we know that the NASA also intends to launch a mission in 2029. The mission prepared by the American space agency will be called DAVINCI and it will be composed an orbiter and a probe that will descend to the surface of the planet.
We also know that the China could launch a mission to Venus in a few years, and so will the Russia and of theIndia.