Venus : the problem with sending people to this planet

(ORDO NEWS) — Venus, often referred to as Earth’s “evil twin”, formed closer to the Sun and evolved in a completely different way than our planet.

It features a dense atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide, no magnetic field, and a surface hot enough to melt lead.

With a slightly smaller diameter than the Earth, Venus orbits closer to the Sun. Early, sustained volcanic eruptions created lava plains and increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, setting off a greenhouse effect that raised the temperature on Venus to 475°C.

The orbital period of Venus is 225 days and its rotation period is 243 days. The slow rotation is due to the absence of a magnetic field, which results in the ongoing loss of the atmosphere.

The atmosphere of Venus rotates faster than the surface of the planet. Images taken during the missions show V-shaped patterns of clouds made up of droplets of sulfuric acid.

Scientists have suggested that the clouds of Venus may have conditions suitable for life at some altitudes. Recent measurements showing the presence of phosphine (a potential sign of life) in the clouds of Venus have sparked a heated debate.

Obviously we need more information about this planet.

What we know about Venus now has been compiled from several past studies. For example, a large amount of data was obtained thanks to the Soviet space program “Venus”.

The next decade will be very productive for Venus scientists. NASA wants to launch the Veritas and DaVinci+ missions in 2028-30.

ESA plans to launch EnVision in the early 2030s. India is going to launch an unmanned Shukrayan-1 mission, and Russia will launch Venera-D.

At a recent meeting of the International Astronautical Federation in September 2022, the idea was put forward to send a manned mission to Venus. Scientists have proposed that a crewed spacecraft circle the planet and return to Earth.

This would allow preparation for a more challenging crewed mission to Mars and more knowledge about Venus. The crew would not have landed – the conditions are too harsh.

Also, sending people to a planet that might contain living organisms won’t make it easier to find them. This is risky – we can pollute the atmosphere before we detect any life. There will also be significant problems with high levels of radiation and temperature.

A flyby mission would be a very expensive undertaking, which of course would provide stunning images and useful additional data. However, this would add little to the detailed and much longer studies currently planned.


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