NASA video shows a dive into the atmosphere of Venus

NASA has been planning its first robotic explorers to Venus for more than 30 years, with the announcement this summer of the DAVINCI + and VERITAS missions. Now NASA has shown what one of these missions will face with the release of a video viewing of the DAVINCI probe plunging into the Venusian atmosphere.

Scheduled to launch in 2029, DAVINCI will study the origin and development of Venus and why it diverged from Earth. He will begin his mission with two gravity-assisted overflights of the planet, during which he will study the tops of the thick clouds of Venus and observe the heat emanating from the side of the planet opposite the sun.

A visualization of the atmosphere and surface of Venus, where the DAVINCI probe will be sent to explore. Conceptual Imagery Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

With two overflights completed, the craft will release its atmospheric descent probe which will dive into the atmosphere, collecting data and taking pictures as it goes. The atmosphere of Venus is an inhospitable place, with high temperatures, crushing pressures, and clouds of sulfuric acid to contend with, so the probe will measure all of these factors as well as others like winds and atmospheric composition. Knowing more about the makeup of the atmosphere can help researchers learn more about the history of Venus, and perhaps even find evidence of ancient water.

As the probe nears the surface, it will capture images of an area called the Alpha Regio Tesserae, taking photos of the rock formations to find out what they are made of and if any water has ever flowed to the surface. surface of the planet. Perhaps all of this can tell us if Venus was ever habitable.

Venus is a Rosetta Stone for reading the record books of climate change, the evolution of habitability, and what happens when a planet loses a long period of surface oceans, noted James Garvin, DAVINCI + principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, when the mission was first announced. But Venus is difficult as every clue is hidden behind the curtain of a massive opaque atmosphere with inhospitable conditions for surface exploration, so we need to be smart and bring our best scientific tools to Venus in innovative ways with missions like DAVINCI +.

“That’s why we named our DAVINCI + mission after Leonardo da Vinci’s inspired and visionary Renaissance thinking that went beyond science to connect with engineering, technology and even art.

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