US probe finds Venus for first time in 30 years, descends to surface of ‘fire hell’

Although dubbed Earth’s twin planet, the outlines of the “da Vinci mission” have been revealed, bringing Venus, which has received less attention than Mars, to a hot topic because the environment is harsh enough to melt lead.

According to NASA, a research team led by Ph.D. Principal Da Vinci Investigator Jim Garvin of Goddard Space Flight Center published details of the da Vinci mission planned for June 2029 in the Journal of Planetary Science.

Da Vinci is an acronym for the English word “Exploration of Venus in the Deep Atmosphere of Noble Gases, Chemistry and Imaging”, which summarizes the goals of the Venus exploration, which will resume in 30 years.

▲ Image of the Da Vinci Atmospheric Probe descending through the atmosphere of Venus.

Da Vinci’s mission includes a large spacecraft that uses gravity to fly to Venus and a small probe that penetrates the atmosphere and descends to the surface.

The “Transmission/Relay/Image” (CRIS) spacecraft analyzed clouds in Venus’ atmosphere through a close flyby and created a height map. In addition, it descends to the Earth’s surface through a high-density atmosphere 90 times larger than Earth’s atmosphere, drops a small probe that uses five instruments to make very precise measurements, and then enters the atmosphere.

It is expected to analyze Venus’ atmosphere and climate system, image the descent of mountains, and obtain detailed maps of rock formations and surface structure. In addition, it is expected to be able to measure the hydrogen isotope ratios that could reveal the history of water on Venus, noble gases that have yet to be measured due to their small abundance and deep atmospheric composition.

“Chemical, environmental and imaging data will be combined to provide the structure of the atmosphere and show how they interact with the Alpha Rigio Mountains, which are twice the size of Texas,” said Dr. Gavin. rocks (such as granite at the surface) or topographic features (such as erosion), and assess the historical characteristics of the atmosphere”.

Leonardo da Vinci approached Venus three times and made a gravity-assisted flight, using gravity to control the speed and direction of the flight. The first and second gravitational flights allowed CRIS to observe Venus remotely in the ultraviolet and near-infrared to collect 60 GB of data on the atmosphere and surface, and during the third flight, the probe was placed at the target point and received data for Receive data from Earth to assist in relay missions.

The first gravitational flight will take place after about six launches, and two years later, at “noon” in June 2031, the descending probe will enter the atmosphere under ideal lighting conditions.

Two days before CRIS reaches its target point, the spacecraft’s flight system separates from its 1-meter titanium container, and the spacecraft will interact with the upper atmosphere 120 kilometers above the surface of Venus. After that, scientific observations began, such as removing the heat shield at an altitude of 67 kilometers and collecting atmospheric gases through the inlet to measure the chemical composition.

It will also take hundreds of pictures as it passes through clouds that are about 30.5 kilometers in diameter.
The spacecraft will touch down in the Alpha Ridge Mountains in about an hour, but all data collected during the descent will be sent to CRIS prior to landing, so no work will be required after landing.

The surface temperature of Venus reaches 462 degrees Celsius.

“If it survives a 12-meter-per-second drop, it can operate for up to 17 to 18 minutes under ideal conditions,” said Stephanie Getty, an assistant researcher on the Da Vinci mission.

“Previous missions to the Venus atmosphere have not measured the chemical composition and environment in the same detail as Da Vinci,” said Dr. Gavin. “

He explained that pre-Venus missions will be enhanced with 21st century capabilities and sensors, building on the achievements of Leonardo da Vinci’s Huygens spacecraft that discovered Saturn’s moon Titan.

After Leonardo da Vinci, NASA plans to launch “Veritas” to explore Venus’ volcanic activity and its geological features, and the European Space Agency (ESA) will launch “EnVision” to explore Venus at the same time.

Russia, which has been competing with the United States in space exploration, is also pursuing three ambitious plans to explore Venus, including taking soil samples around 2030.

Science Team press@jeonpa.co.kr

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