India is looking for collaborators for a Venus mission, while Elon Musk is still exploring Mars. The ISRO in Bengaluru is planning to send a spacecraft to Venus in 2023. It invited global scientists to propose instruments to bring to the planet. Because Venus is not an easy subject to study, many were surprised to hear that India is planning a mission to this planet.
India Is Requesting Global Partnerships
Because recent missions and media hype have focused on Mars, it has become difficult to round up support for students and researchers who are interested in Venus. Thus, the community is small. While ISRO has already chosen 12 instruments proposed by Indian scientists to bring to the planet, it is also focusing on global partnerships. One planetary scientist, Larry Esposito from CU Boulder, said that he would like to contribute instruments. The scientist is eager to learn more about Venus’s clouds and how they are responding to volcanic eruptions.
In the past, India visited Mars on a low-cost mission in 2014. But, this time with the Venus trip, the nation is expecting to use a metallic balloon idea that French astrophysicist Jacques Blamont once proposed. It will develop the metallic balloon in-house. The balloon will carry instruments totaling 10 kilograms and will float to 55 kilometers above Venus’s surface.
Is There Potential for India to Colonize Venus
While Elon Musk focuses on his Mars colonization mission, India makes sure that it does not ignore Venus in its space program. Perhaps, India will be the first one to colonize the “Planet of Love.” However, the planet is a tricky case, the atmosphere and surface make it difficult for spacecraft to remain intact.
Venus Colonization Attempts
Out of over 40 Venus missions so far, about half have failed. The best record for the longest lifespan of a spacecraft on Venus’s surface was 127 minutes, before it could not send a signal anymore. In the planet’s atmosphere, there are high winds and Venusian storms. The atmosphere holds a high content of sulfur dioxide; and, of course, there are sulfuric acid rainstorms. In the 1980s, balloons sent to Venus survived for nearly 2 days in the planet’s atmosphere.
Potentially, India could build a colony in the Venusian atmosphere. The surface is extremely hot and we have not yet found acid-resistant materials that could survive Venus’s surface. An idea that might work on Venus is an atmospheric colony, but we have not even tried this on Earth. Thus, it seems that human colonization on Mars is a more realistic goal at the moment. Although, to protect astronauts from radiation, most likely Martian facilities will need to be underground.
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