Indian space agency ISRO is planning to send a probe mission to Venus, which is in our neighbourhood besides being the planet of love, wealth and prosperity for the human race since ages.
Indian Space Research Organisation has successfully carried out mission to Moon called Chandrayaan-1 and another breakthrough mission to Mars called Mangalyaan so far. While the Chandrayaan-2 mission is underway, ISRO is also planning a mission to Venus and if possible another probe of an asteroid nearby.
The Mars and Jupiter belt has many asteroids where NASA’s Dawn is orbiting currently. Even the Eruopean Space agency has sent its mission Rosetta. ISRO may follow similar strategy.
But why Venus? “Venus is our neighbour and has many scientific challenges and aspects that need to be studied. Exploring an asteroid is also challenging task,” says Dr A.S. Kiran Kumar, ISRO chairman.
Though Venus is similar to Earth in several features, its atmosphere lacks oxygen and instead has carbon-dioxide with temperature soaring to 460 degree Celsius, making it impossible to imagine life on it. With constant volcanic activity, Venus’ thick, toxic atmosphere traps heat in a typical ‘greenhouse effect.’ Venus spins slowly in the opposite direction of most planets.
But Venus is only a little smaller than Earth and the second closest planet to the sun at a distance of about 108 million km (67 million miles). One day on Venus lasts as long as 243 Earth days and it has no moons or rings.
So far, nearly 40 spacecraft have been sent to explore Venus and the Magellan mission in the early 1990s mapped almost 98 percent of the planet’s surface. And this is the only planet where Sun rises not in the East but in West.
With the difficult to imagine surface on Venus already known, it is still not sure why ISRO wants to send a mission to Venus. While ISRO is known for its cost-saving planning, the entire mission may yield no greater insights than what NASA has currently.