CHENNAI: Nearly three years after India’s Mars orbiter reached the red planet successfully on its first attempt, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is planning to undertake a similar mission to planet Venus.
Isro has invited proposals from scientists for space-based experiments to be carried out in the Venus mission, thus making a formal announcement of its intention to study the earth’s twin sister. The planned mission will carry scientific instruments weighing around 175 kg which is 10 times more than the scientific payload carried by the MOM. Mars orbiter’s payload weighed only 15 kg.
“This is still a preliminary step. We are looking at the kind of payloads for the Venus mission,” said Isro chairman A.S.Kiran Kumar.
The proposed orbit is expected to be around 500 x 60,000 km around Venus and is likely to be reduced gradually over several months to orbit closer to the planet.
When asked whether Isro has finalised its next interplanetary mission to Venus, he said, “We are working on the possibilities of many missions and Venus is also one of them.” He added, “It takes many years to complete the payloads and finalise the mission. We will do a Venus mission for sure. But we are yet to decide other details like when the mission will be sent and the payloads. At present, we want to know about areas that our scientific community is interested in studying on Venus,” Mr.Kiran Kumar said. Isro is likely to undertake the Venus mission either in 2021 or 2022.
Venus is often described as the twin sister of Earth because of the similarity in size, mass, density, bulk composition and gravity. Venus is closer to the sun as compared to Earth, resulting in much higher solar flux. The exploration of Venus began in the early 1960s with Soviet Union’s Venera missions. Since then Venus has been explored by flyby, orbiter, a few lander missions and atmospheric probes by various countries.
Isro has announced that the last date to receive the proposals from scientists is May 19....