Why is Venus not like Earth? A new space mission aims to find out


An artist's illustration depicting the EnVision mission to Venus, which will help scientists understand why Earth's more similar neighbor is so different in size from our own world.

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A satellite designed to study Venus from top to bottom and three gravitational wave surfing spacecraft are the latest missions undertaken by the European Space Agency. It has been adopted.

The agency had previously selected missions, however Formal adoption process It means contractors will be selected so the builder can begin bringing the mission designs to life.

The European Space Agency will cooperate with NASA on both missions, which will launch from the European Spaceport in French Guiana in the 2030s.

“These pioneering missions will take us to the next level in two very exciting areas of space science, and will keep European researchers at the forefront of these fields,” Carol Mundell, ESA's science director, said in a statement.

the Envision Venus Explorer He will study this planet in unprecedented detail, from its inner core to the top of its atmosphere, to help astronomers understand why a hot, toxic world doesn't appear like Earth. Venus is similar in size and distance from the Sun compared to Earth, and some researchers believe that the planet's climate may have been similar to Earth's climate at some point.

But Twin Earth is now an inhospitable world, with surface temperatures capable of melting lead and extreme, crushing pressure resulting from runaway global warming.

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ESA/VR2Planets/Damia Buick

EnVision artist's impression after the spacecraft reaches orbit around Venus.

Scientists hope the mission will answer key questions about Venus, including how the world evolved over time, whether it has oceans, how geologically active it is, and why its runaway greenhouse effect began.

EnVision is expected to launch in 2031 and will be the first mission to collect data on how Venus' atmosphere, surface and interior interact. The mission relies on the first European Space Agency spacecraft sent to map the planet's atmosphere. Venus ExpressWhich orbited Venus from 2005 to 2014.

After a 15-month journey to Venus, EnVision will spend an additional 15 months orbiting the planet and flying through its atmosphere.

The satellite will have two deployable solar arrays and carry a suite of instruments that can monitor Venus' surface and atmosphere as well as explore the planet's dense, opaque clouds using radar and radio wavelengths.

It is one of several missions in development to study Venus, including NASA's Da Vinci And Truth, honesty Expeditions are scheduled to launch over the next decade.

When massive celestial bodies such as black holes collide, they send out ripples called ripples Gravitational waves Which spread throughout the universe and reveal information about its history.

These waves were monitored by ground-based observatories, however Laser space interferometer antenna, or LISAIt will be the first space observatory to study cosmic phenomena. Ground-based observatories are limited in what they can detect based on size and sensitivity, so they can only pick up high-frequency gravitational waves.

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But the space observatory could be much larger, and LISA would be able to detect waves ranging from small to giant as well Low frequency ones They are emitted by supermassive black holes merging into the centers of massive galaxies.

European Space Agency

The illustration shows the laser triangle configuration for the LISA mission, which will use three spacecraft to detect gravitational waves, which have been imaged emanating from two black holes.

The LISA mission involves three spacecraft that will fly 2.5 million kilometers (about 1.6 million miles) in a triangular formation. Floating golden cubes inside each spacecraft will be used to detect gravitational waves.

The mission was born of success Lisa PathfinderIt was launched by the European Space Agency in 2015 to demonstrate the technology on which the LISA mission will rely to search the universe for cosmic ripples.

European Space Agency

Golden cubes inside each spacecraft will help the LISA mission detect gravitational waves.

The new mission will search for evidence of merging black holes throughout the universe, study the formation of thousands of pairs of stars called binary systems, look inside dense star clusters within galaxies, and try to measure the rate at which the universe is expanding. LISA will be used to study the history of the universe by locating the first black holes that formed after the Big Bang.

Together, the three spacecraft will fly past Earth as they orbit the sun, about 50 million kilometers (31 million miles) from our planet. The agency expects the mission to last four years, with the possibility of extending it.

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