The EnVision orbiter has been selected by European Space Agency (ESA) as its next mission to Venus in the 2030s.
NASA had recently announced two of its mission (DAVINCI+ and VERITAS) to Venus. ESA is also following the path of NASA in its exploration mission.
The EnVision mission will be undertaken by ESA with some help from NASA. The orbiter gets its earliest launch window in 2031 and later in 2032 and 2033.
The orbiter will be launched using the Ariane 6 rocket and will have a travel time of 15 months to reach Venus. It will require 16 more months for reaching its orbit position.
The mission will be carrying range of equipments to study surface and atmosphere. It will also carry out study of composition of surface and gases.
The EnVision will carry forward the legacy of earlier ESA’s Venus mission called Venus Express that was able to carry out atmospheric research and identify volcanic hotspots.
Importance of studying Venus
Earth and Venus are of similar size and composition. The question remains how they evolved differently. Venus is now the hottest planet in Solar system.
Along with DAVINCI+ the mission will be able to tell more about Venus’ atmospheric clouds and also volcanism on surface.
It will find clear evidence if life exists on the Venus in the top cloud layers where the conditions and temperatures are less extreme.
A recent study had found existence of phosphine gas in top atmospheric layers of planet. This gas is only formed through biological process.
DAVINCI+ will try to analyse the Venus’ composition to see the evolution process of the planet using a sphere that will travel through its atmosphere.
VERITAS will be aiming to map Venus’ surface to understand its geology and determine the reasons for its different evolution from Earth.