For the first time in 3 decades, NASA will return the probe to harsh Venus to find traces of life

Tram Ho

For the first time in three decades, NASA will send a Venus lander probe. Although named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, the planet is compared to hell for the following reasons: the surface temperature reaches 464 degrees Celsius, the atmosphere contains 96 % carbon dioxide, surface pressure equivalent to that at a depth of 900m below sea level and sulfuric acid exists in the atmosphere, corroding even the probe sent down.

On Wednesday, NASA director Bill Nelson announced two projects, two probes that will visit “hell” in the second half of the 2020s. They named the two ships DAVINCI+ and VERITAS.

Both of these missions have the same goal of figuring out why Venus is the way it is, having a surface that can melt lead, ” said Nelson.

Lần đầu tiên sau 3 thập kỷ, NASA sẽ đưa tàu thăm dò trở lại Sao Kim khắc nghiệt hòng tìm dấu vết sự sống - Ảnh 1.

Venus.

Venus can be considered as Earth’s “sister” planet: they are all similar in size, mass and composition. Besides, Venus is also the planet with orbit closest to Earth’s orbit. However, Venus had a not-so-smooth “childhood”, making the status quo of the planet so inaccessible. During the 70s, 80s, and 90s, Venus knocked out a series of exploratory missions by both the US and the Soviet Union.

But last year, all eyes turned to the brightest object in the night sky when scientists announced new research. Using powerful telescopes, the researchers detected phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus, and then came to the conclusion: only living things can be the source of phosphine gas.

The DAVINCI+ spacecraft can confirm the existence of phosphine in the toxic atmosphere of Venus. The spacecraft is expected to take to the air in 2029 and fly over Venus twice in 2030 to observe this deadly planet. By 2031, DAVINCI+ will once again make a close approach to Venus, throwing down a tracking instrument capable of analyzing the atmosphere; During a free fall of nearly an hour, the instrument will “sniff” elements present in the atmosphere of Venus.

Lần đầu tiên sau 3 thập kỷ, NASA sẽ đưa tàu thăm dò trở lại Sao Kim khắc nghiệt hòng tìm dấu vết sự sống - Ảnh 2.

DAVINCI+ will drop probes on Venus to analyze the planet’s atmosphere.

Scientists will synthesize this data to come up with a conclusion to answer the question “how the atmosphere of Venus formed”. At the same time, they will also learn whether Venus once had water on its surface, and why the water evaporated.

The VERITAS probe will be in the air a year before DAVINCI+, on a mission to draw a 3D map of the surface of Venus. VERITAS will also have a spectrometer that will allow it to peer through the dense atmosphere to study Venus’ surface rocks, looking for traces of volcanism, volcanic water, and the structure of the planet. of the planetary surface rocks.

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Source : Genk