NASA Plans To Send Airships To Venus’ Hellish Atmosphere

Posted: Oct 18 2018, 7:41am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 18 2018, 8:00am CDT , in Latest Science News


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NASA Plans to Send Airships to Venus’ Hellish Atmosphere
Credit: NASA

The airship would float around the planet and help us better understand the surface of Venus hidden behind its dense atmosphere.

NASA has found a possible way to explore the extreme atmosphere of Venus. The national space agency is currently working on a conceptual manned mission to Venus, named High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC). The mission will use airships which will hover in the upper atmosphere of the Venus instead of landing on its surface.

Venus is often called Earth's twin as it is roughly the same size and has similar composition. But this planet is also one the most hostile places in our solar system. Venus' atmosphere is mostly made up of carbon dioxide with clouds of sulfuric acid. Also, its average surface temperature is 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius), hot enough to melt lead. All that makes it very difficult to study the planet and its nature. Not surprising, Soviet probes that last ventured to the surface decades ago only survived couple of hours on Venus surface.

In recent years, NASA has explored Mars in great detail and wants to take humans to the planet. It also intends to send a mission to Venus to learn more about the planet's past and determine if it once had liquid water or traces of life on its surface.

Initially, it was thought that a lander could analyze Venus atmosphere and chemical composition of rocks on the ground. But landing a vehicle on the surface is very challenging. To avoid these obstacles, NASA is looking into the possibility of sending people in airships which will stay aloft in the upper atmosphere for extended periods of time. At 50 kilometers up, the pressure and temperature of Venus upper atmosphere is similar to that of Earth's. NASA says that HAVOC would conduct research in a far less dangerous place and help revolutionize our understanding of the hot surface of Venus hidden behind the planet's dense atmosphere.

HAVOC would resemble a balloon like non-rigid airship with solar panels on top. The airship would float around the planet using wind and reveal the surface below. Although no actual date for HAVOC has been announced, the kind of mission is actually possible with current technology.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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