Scientists Create Lighter-than-Air Spacecraft to Explore Venus

JAKARTA – Scientists are developing a very light spacecraft to explore the Planet Venus, and can adapt to foreign environments other than Planet Earth.

Proposed in 2014 by Northrop Grumman, the project dubbed Venus Atmospheric Manoeuvrability Platform (VAMP) will deploy a probe from Earth to explore Venus’ upper atmosphere.

The spacecraft, designed like a balloon, will have a lighter-than-air weight, which can explore the clouds from Venus and investigate signs of ancient life on the hottest planet in the Solar System.

Later this spacecraft will be equipped with software to navigate the atmosphere of Venus independently, which was developed by scientists from the University of West Virginia.

Launch The Independent, Thursday, December 23, equipped with a hybrid engine, the aircraft will use buoyancy and aerodynamic lift to control its altitude. Because, the temperature of Planet Venus can reach around 475 degrees Celsius, and has melted many probes sent there.

Meanwhile, during the day they will collect energy from the Sun as a driving force. Furthermore, the scientists claim that their software will optimize the flight path while taking into account strong winds and sunlight intensity, enabling it to plan flights for the longest period, months to a year.

The software will have three main objectives: create a motion planner for the plane so that it can be commanded by NASA’s science team, localize the craft in the atmosphere using vehicles and planetary maps, and coordinate the vehicle for better atmospheric estimates. condition.

The motion planner should be considered for an optimal energy strategy, because later the spacecraft will orbit the Venuvian atmosphere, which will take a long time without light on the dark side of the planet, so the craft will need to have sufficient energy to survive this period.

This means that both scientists and the science team must know information about the direction of the wind, and navigate the robot in that direction as it will require less power. This all needs to be done without GPS (which requires a satellite network).

More Challenges When Exploring Venus

It is claimed that there are biological life forms in the acid clouds of Venus due to the presence of ammonia. Ammonia is made of hydrogen, but non-biological processes don’t seem to be able to reach the amount scientists believe in the clouds, suggesting that a biological cause is more likely.

“We know that life can grow in an acidic environment on Earth, but nothing is as acidic as Venus’s cloud is believed. If there’s something that builds up ammonia in the cloud, it will neutralize some of the droplets, making them potentially more habitable,” said Cardiff University scientist Dr William Bains.

“There are many other challenges that life must face if it is to live in the clouds of Venus. There was hardly any water there to begin with, and all life we ​​know of requires water. But if there is life, then neutralizing the acid will make the cloud a little more habitable than we thought.”

It’s not clear when the project will launch, and it’s likely that by 2023 scientists will have found solutions to address ammonia and other challenges.


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