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Fraser
2006-Nov-22, 01:52 AM
While Venus is the same size as our Earth, its hellish surface environment makes it inhospitable to life. What went wrong with Venus? Now NASA is working on a new spacecraft called Vesper that could visit Venus, and try to get to the bottom of the question. Once launched, Vesper could begin orbiting Venus in March 2015. It would have a suite of instruments that would analyze the planet's atmosphere over the course of two years.

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2006/11/21/back-to-venus-with-vesper/)

antoniseb
2006-Nov-22, 11:40 AM
I am interested in this mission, but for some reason, it doesn't grab me the way most planetary probes do. I suspect it is because it will not be imaging the surface of Venus, or sending back any new visual material. I think it's great that we should learn more about the composition of the Venusian atmosphere, but somehow I'm not excited about it... I think the writeups have also been pretty vague about what exactly we could learn.

Darrrius
2006-Nov-22, 02:49 PM
Also, isnt Venus Express doing exactly this mission at the moment?

Leafguy
2006-Nov-22, 03:08 PM
As fas as I know, Venus express is a mission to map the surface as its primary goal. I could be wrong, however, this new mission is to determine why certain processes that have happened on earth aren't happening on Venus, as well as the rotation of the cloud tops being so much faster then the planetary rotation. I think the major process to be determined is as to why the sunlight that is hitting Venus' atmosphere is not being changed to carbon dioxide / monoxide at the rate it should be.

John Mendenhall
2006-Nov-22, 03:35 PM
Twit du Jour: I think this a vertical relief exaggerated photo. Sky & Telescope and APOD are (usually) very careful to say this in their captions. UT reaches even more people, and if the photo has been hyped up, it would be nice to let the unsophisticated user know that the mountains don’t really look like that.

JESMKS
2006-Nov-22, 05:53 PM
Why not drop some weather balloons with radiosondes into the upper atmosphere of Venus. They should float there for a long time and should provide lots of information about it's asmosphere.

Polaris93
2006-Nov-23, 12:20 AM
I think the most interesting thing about Venus is that her infernal environment, nothing like ours here on Earth, is nevertheless stable: "The planetís atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide (CO2), which should get broken down by sunlight into carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen. Thatís not happening, at least not on a large scale, or scientists would have seen it by now. There must be some as yet unknown chemistry stabilizing the atmosphere." (From the article.) This could be due to one of two reasons: Continuous replenishment by chemical means from the interior of the planet, the more likely of the two; or, less likely but intriguing, replenishment due to biological activity on the part of some type of organism unlike anything on Earth except, possibly, archaeobacteria, a.k.a. extremophiles, some of which prefer conditions resembling those on the surface of Venus. If we can ever get a lander down to her surface lasting for more than a few minutes, this is one of the things we should look for. Here on Earth, extremophiles of whatever kind, bacterial or eukaryotic or whatever, are confined to a few, highly restricted environments, underground or underwater or in hot springs. But on Venus there may be extremophiles of as-yet unknown types living all over her surface, or just under it, not requiring a watery environment the way many of Earth's do. If true, it would truly be the find of the millennium!

01101001
2006-Nov-23, 01:12 AM
Twit du Jour: I think this a vertical relief exaggerated photo.

Decidedly.

PIA00106: Venus - 3D Perspective View of Maat Mons (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00106)


The vertical scale in this perspective has been exaggerated 10 times.

Darrrius
2006-Nov-23, 01:03 PM
As fas as I know, Venus express is a mission to map the surface as its primary goal. I could be wrong, however, this new mission is to determine why certain processes that have happened on earth aren't happening on Venus, as well as the rotation of the cloud tops being so much faster then the planetary rotation. I think the major process to be determined is as to why the sunlight that is hitting Venus' atmosphere is not being changed to carbon dioxide / monoxide at the rate it should be.

ESA's website states th following objectives:


What is the mechanism and what is the driving force of the super-rotation of the atmosphere?
What are the basic processes in the general circulation of the atmosphere?
What is the composition and chemistry of the lower atmosphere and the clouds?
What is the past and present water balance in the atmosphere?
What is the role of the radiative balance and greenhouse effect in the past present and future evolution of the planet?
Is there currently volcanic and/or tectonic activity on the planet?

The scientific objectives of the Venus Express mission have been concisely expressed within seven scientific themes. The aim is to carry out a comprehensive study of the atmosphere of Venus and to study the planet's plasma environment and its interaction with the solar wind in some detail. Dedicated surface studies will also be performed. The seven scientific themes are:

1 Atmospheric dynamics
2 Atmospheric structure
3 Atmospheric composition and chemistry
4 Cloud layer and hazes
5 Radiative balance
6 Surface properties and geology
7 Plasma environment and escape processes


So another mission by NASA to Venus doing pretty much the same thing seems a little too much when there are other objects of far more interest (Europa, Enceladus, Titan) to send probes to!

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=38850

RUF
2006-Nov-23, 04:54 PM
quote by Darrrius: -->> "So another mission by NASA to Venus doing pretty much the same thing seems a little too much when there are other objects of far more interest (Europa, Enceladus, Titan) to send probes to!"

Amen! Our tax dollars at work. Once again, NASA is aspiring to the mediocre instead of reaching for the stars.

John Mendenhall
2006-Nov-27, 06:17 PM
Why not drop some weather balloons with radiosondes into the upper atmosphere of Venus. They should float there for a long time and should provide lots of information about it's asmosphere.

It's a neat idea but - it took the Russians three or four tries to get a probe to the surface. Remember, sulfuric acid is a component of the clouds in the upper atmosphere. It ate the first few Russian probes alive, and they had a hard time figuring out why. As I recall, they finally had to mount a camera on the probe to watch the probe itself. After seeing it disintegrate before their eyes, they realized their atmospheric model was wrong. Getting a balloon to survive might be difficult, and the instrument package might be worse. Sulfuric acid vapor and droplets are some kind of nasty stuff. See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Venus