NASA Planning To Send Crewed Mission To Venus?
NASA is setting its sights on space exploration and may send a crewed mission to Venus. This mission would be in partnership with Russia and is dubbed Venus-D.
Till date, NASA's impending Mars mission was in the limelight. However, it seems that scientists are quite keen to explore Venus, which is also dubbed "Earth's evil twin."
As reported by Forbes in early April, a 2015 internal study conducted by NASA's Langley Research Center proposed sending a crewed mission to Venus. This proposed journey would serve as rehearsal for both NASA, as well as the astronauts, before they set off for Mars in 2031.
A new report from Daily Star reveals that the space mission to Venus would be a joint effort between the United States and Russia. The space agencies of the two countries — NASA and Roscosmos — are reportedly working on a plan for the manned mission to Venus.
"A proposed joint mission to Venus could feature Russia and the United States working together - despite recent diplomatic tensions," reveals the publication.
Crewed Mission To Venus
The proposed Venus-D mission is reportedly taking shape. According to the Daily Star report, Roscosmos would offer the landing and orbital modules, as well as the rocket to transport them to the planet. On the other hand, NASA would be providing the mobile atmospheric probes. These probes would be capable of withstanding and surviving Venus' harsh conditions.
The mission will help scientists understand and observe the greenhouse effect and possibly find means to restrict the effects of climate change on our planet.
"Venus is a natural laboratory to study the greenhouse effect," said Ludmila Zasova, a scientists, to Russian news agency TASS.
The base setup of the mission reportedly comprises the landing and orbital modules. Zasova revealed that the landing module can only operate for two hours on the planet's surface. However, this time window is sufficient to conduct the primary tests using the onboard tools.
Alongside the atmospheric probe, NASA may provide extra equipment for the landing module.
NASA's Langley Research Center Study
The 2015 study from NASA proposed a crewed mission to Venus, which would take 440 days. Out of this, 30 would be reserved to study Venus from its atmosphere. The study proposed that the mission deploy the Space Launch System or SLS rocket.
The astronauts would spend a month in Venus' atmosphere, 31 miles above the surface. The manned mission would observe and study Venus from this altitude without landing on the planet.
The trip to Venus is a shorter one if compared to a full-fledged Mars mission from Earth. Majority of the round-trip orbital missions to Mars takes around 700 days or even more compared to the 440 days proposed by the crewed Venus mission.
Venus Exploration Importance
Venus is situated on the edge of our solar system's habitable Goldilocks zone. The surface pressure on Venus is roughly 92 times more than that on Earth. The planet's surface temperature is quite high (roughly 864 degrees Fahrenheit) and is sufficient to melt most man-made electronics.
Although inhospitable for humans, understanding the composition of Venus will offer scientists more insights into the planet. Proper studies on Venus will help scientists understand other solar systems in the galaxy, as well as the evolution of habitable areas around other sun-like stars.
According to Zasova, in the event the mission takes place "the next logical step will be sending mobile surface devices — rovers."
"Next one — sending back to Earth samples of atmosphere, and then Venus' soil, probably from a tessera. But this is a matter for the future," shared Zasova.
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