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Missions to Venus: Highlights from History, When We Return

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Carl Sagan once said that Venus is the planet in our solar system Much like hell. When are we going back?

Astronomers Monday Acidity of phosphine has been reported in the discovery of a chemical in the clouds of Venus., It may be a possible sign of life. To the second planet of the Sun, especially some astronomers have itching Those who think that Venus has long been ignored in favor of Mars Other destinations.

“If this planet is active and produces phosphine and produces something in the atmosphere of Venus, by Almighty God, forget this Martian encyclopedia,” said Paul Byrne, a planetary scientist at North Carolina State University. “We need a lander, an orbiter, we need a program.”

Venus is not easy to visit. Its carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere is 90 times denser than ours, with an average surface temperature of 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Its surface pressure is sufficient to destroy some submarines.

But that did not stop human space programs from trying. About 40 robotic spacecraft Governments on Earth have tried to visit Venus in one way or another. Here are highlights from previous missions to Venus and the possibility of a quick return to the planet to find out what is happening in those clouds.

In 1961, the Soviet space program attempted to explore Venus. In the ensuing decades, dozens of space probes were fired into the world, sometimes referred to as the Earth Twin. When the Soviet Union’s Exploration of Venus began with several misfires, the country launched the first spacecraft in another world, and soon became the first country to photograph the surface of another planet. Their engineering achievements were remarkable even at the modern level.

When the first spacecraft sent into space was seen scattering like tin cans, the Soviets realized how intense the pressure on Venus was. This trial and error led to the construction of a five-ton metal spacecraft to deal with, and even just over an hour, the great pressure on the surface.

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In 1967, Venus 4 became the first spacecraft to measure another planet’s atmosphere, discovering large amounts of carbon dioxide causing the infinite Venus greenhouse effect.

In 1975, the country’s Venus 9 probe first took pictures of the surface of another planet. The world has officially met Venus. Images Later sent missions revealed a planet unlike any other: the ruined terrain below Dim, faded neon green light. The planet we thought might be wrapped in oceans and resemble our own was instead a poisonous alien world.

Subsequent missions in the Venera series to the 1980s helped scientists learn more about the planet’s geological processes. When Venera 11 and 12 went to the surface, large amounts of thunder and lightning were detected. Venera 13 and 14 were equipped with microphones that recorded the sounds of landing on the surface, making it the first spacecraft to record audio from another planet.

In 1985, the Soviet Union ended Venus’ collision with a dual-speed spacecraft, each of which released large balloons filled with scientific instruments, proving the possibility of spacecraft floating on the planet’s clouds.

The slow pace of the Soviet space program towards the end of the Cold War prevented the launch to Venus. When there is a Russian space program The future exploration of Venus was discussed, Its ideas have not moved from the drawing board.

Although Mars has always looked like an apple in the eyes of American space planners, the Mariner and Pioneer programs of the 1960s and ’70s found time for Venus.

The Mariner 2 was the first American spacecraft to reach Venus in 1962. It determined that the temperature in the clouds was cooler but much warmer on the surface.

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In 1978, pioneer missions helped American researchers to get a closer look. The first of these pairs orbited the planet for 14 years, revealing much about the mysterious atmosphere of Venus. It has been observed that the surface is softer than Earth and that Venus’ magnetic field is very small and probably absent. The second pioneer mission sent several probes into Venus’ atmosphere, providing information on the structure of clouds and radar readings on the surface.

In 1990, NASA’s Magellan orbited the surface for four years, searching for evidence of plate tectonics. It was found that 85% of the surface was covered by old lava flows, indicating past and present volcanic activity.

This is the last of the American visitors, however, as many NASA spacecraft have used Venus as a slingshot while traveling to other destinations.

The Venus Express was launched by the European Space Agency in 2005. It orbited the planet for eight years, observing that it may still be geographically active.

Is now the only guest on the planet from Earth AkatsukiLaunched by Japan in 2010. The probe missed an encounter with Venus when the engine failed to fire as it went into orbit. By 2015, the mission’s managers were able to lead the planet in a path of orbit and study.

Since then, scientists have changed the way we view our cloudy twins. In a study of the physics of Venus’ dense clouds, the mission revealed the planet’s wind disturbances. Also known as gravitational waves, And the equatorial jet streams in its atmosphere.

Several missions to Venus have been proposed, and some space agencies have announced their desire to visit the planet. But it is difficult to say whether anyone will make this trip.

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The Indian Space Agency has commissioned the Shukrayan-1 mission, which will orbit the planet and focus on atmospheric chemistry.

Peter Beck, founder of Rocket Lab, a private company based in New Zealand that recently launched a dozen rockets into space, recently spoke. Sending a small satellite to the planet.

NASA has considered several Venus orbits over the past decade, including two in 2017, the final version of NASA’s Discovery program, which has previously sent explorers to the Moon, Mars, Mercury and other destinations. Instead agency A pair of asteroid missions were selected.

In 2017, for the big and expensive New Frontiers competition, NASA considered it a Venus mission Venus in situ Composition Investigation or VC, which attempted to embed two landers on the planet’s surface. It was handed over Dragonfly sent by a plutonium power drone to fly to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

However, NASA paid for some of the technologies that VC needed. Venus spokesmen may have a new lawyer within NASA. Lori S., VC’s Principal Investigator; Glace is currently the Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA.

The agency will have another opportunity to select a Venus mission for funding in the next phase of the Discovery program.

Two Venus spacecraft Da Vinci + And Veritas, Competing against specific missions Neptune’s Moon Triton Or Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io. NASA can select two of the four finalists. Visitors to Venus may have other possibilities.

“We need to recognize that Venus is the destination of planets that can be reached by small missions,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA’s science mission directorate.

Contributed by Kenneth Chang Reporting.

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