I was thrilled to learn that NASA is Working on a Battery that can withstand the intense heat of Venus because this means they are planning to land something on Venus’ surface.
It makes sense. We’ve made it to Mars and are collecting valuable data to prepare for future missions, so why wouldn’t we do the same with our other neighbor–besides the fact that Venus, unlike Mars, would instantly kill a human outside a controlled environment. Mars seems more doable, and yet…why not Venus too?
How Similar to Earth is Venus?
In fact, current studies indicate Venus was a lot more like Earth sometime in the past but some sort of climate shift altered the atmosphere with a thick CO2 cover that via the greenhouse effect heated up the planet to almost 900 degrees Fahrenheit. There are also clouds of sulfuric acid to deal with.
No earlier than 2027, NASA plans to send Veritas, a Venus mapper, to obtain better details and try to understand if Venus was once indeed “another Earth” and what might have gone wrong to turn it into what it is today.
There are other missions planned, including NASA’s Davinci which will enter the toxic atmosphere to take detailed readings, and The European Space Agency (ESA) is sending their EnVision spacecraft a few years after that. India is planning to launch an orbiter called Shukrayaan as early as December 2024 that will take pictures and use radar to map the surface.
There is quite a history to spacecraft visiting Venus, more than I had realized. NASA’s Mariner 2 flew past in December, 1962, which is when we learned of Venus’ atmosphere issues. More than forty spacecraft have launched for Venus from various countries. One Soviet spacecraft managed to survive for two hours on Venus’ surface before succumbing to the intense heat and crushing air pressure.
So what now?
Now, we sit and wait for science to come up with technology that can handle Venus’ surface, such as batteries. The next set of missions will collect data required to build the next generation of spacecraft that will land and survive.
I still think we’ll walk on Mars first, but I have a feeling Venus will become more valuable in helping us preserve the Earth.
What do you think? Comment below!