Europe flies to Venus: ESA approves EnVision mission

The Scientific Program Committee of the European Space Agency (ESA) has officially approved the implementation of the EnVision mission. Its target will be Venus.

EnVision mission in the artist’s image. Source: ESA/VR2Planets/Damia Bouic

The EnVision mission has been selected for preliminary study in 2021. As part of it, ESA is going to send a 2.6-ton spacecraft to Venus. It is expected to make a detailed map of its surface and study the atmosphere. 

According to the developers, the data collected by EnVision will have to answer a number of questions related to Venus. For example, has it always been such an inhospitable place? Or, in the distant past, was the planet similar to Earth and possessed an ocean? 

EnVision data will show how volcanoes, plate tectonics and asteroid impacts shaped the Venusian surface. The measurements to be carried out by the device will also help scientists understand how geologically active the planet is now. It will look for signs of active volcanism and study the internal structure of Venus, collecting data on the structure and thickness of its core, mantle and crust. Another goal of the mission is to study the Venusian climate and its relation to geological activity on the surface.

To perform these tasks, the spacecraft will be equipped with a set of scientific instruments, including a synthetic aperture radar, subsurface radar and a spectroscope. EnVision is scheduled to launch in 2031, and its arrival on Venus will take place in 2034. The mission is designed for a nominal service life of 4.5 years.

Earlier, we talked about how the first private Venusian mission would search for traces of life in its atmosphere.

According to

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time