DAVINCI Mission to Venus Details

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Venus
Courtesy of Bina (Flickr CC0)

NASA chose the DAVINCI mission as a portion of the Discovery program. The program will be investigating the evaluation, present state, and origin of Venus in detail. The information is unparalleled from almost the top of the clouds to the surface of Venus. The hottest planet, Venus, has a toxic thick atmosphere. It has a pressure of 1,350 psi at the surface and is full of carbon dioxide.

In a paper published recently, engineers and scientists with NASA give new information in regards to the agency’s Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Nobel gases, Chemistry, and Imaging mission, (DAVINCI). The mission descends through the atmosphere of Venus that is layered and goes to the surface of the planet by mid-2031. This is the first quest to investigate Venus using a descent probe and spacecraft flybys.

DAVINCI is a flying lab of analytical chemistry. Its intention is to measure the critical features of Venus’ large climate system. This is the first time this could be done. The mission will also give the first descent image of the mountains and around the highlands of the planet. Furthermore, they will be able to map the rock composition as well as surface relief which is not possible to do from orbit. DAVINCI supports data on gases that are present in little amounts that have not been discovered yet in the deepest atmosphere. This included the ratio of hydrogen isotopes, which are components of H2O that aid the revealing of water history as either stream in the early stages or ocean.

Venus
Courtesy of My Rotherham & Countryside.and worldwide (Flickr CC0)

CRIS Device’s Purpose to Venus

DAVINCI’s carrier, relay, and imaging spacecraft (CRIS) has two tools onboard that will observe the clouds on the planet and map the highland areas in the Venus flybys. It will also release a little descent probe equipped with five tools that will give a medley of fresh data at high accuracy as it descents to the surface of Venus.

The lead author of the Planetary Science Journal and DAVINCI paper and principal investigator for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center located in Greenbelt Maryland, Jim Garvin, explained that the collection of environmental, chemistry and descent photographic data will show the layered atmosphere of the planet and how it works with the surface of the Alpha Regio mountains. That area is twice as large as Texas.

Also, Garvin stated the measurements allow them to examine historical points and detect rock types that are special at the surface, like granites. They will also be searching for landscaping features that are a tell-take and can explain the erosion or different processes that were formational.

This program will put three gravity assists to work on the planet. The assists will save on fuel by resourcing the gravity of the plant to change the direction and/or speed of the CRIS system. The first two assistants from gravity will set CRIS up for a flyby of Venus to conduct remote sensing in the almost infrared and ultraviolet light. This will acquire over 60 gigabytes of new information about the surface and atmosphere of the planet. The third aid will prepare the craft to drop the probe for descent, entry, touchdown, science, and continuing communication to Earth.

The First Flyby

The initial flyby of the planet will be six months and 30 days after launch. It will take two years to get the device into the position to enter the atmosphere above Alpha Regio below the ideal lighting of the high moon. The goal is to measure the landscapes of the planet at scales 328 feet to smaller than one meter. These scales allow lander-style studies that are geologic in the highlands of Venus and will not require landing.

After the CRIS device is approximately two days out from Venus, the probe flight system will release as well as the three-foot diameter titanium probe that is stored inside safely. The probe will start to interact with the upper regions of Venus’ atmosphere at approximately 75 miles above the surface. The probe inlets will take in samples of the gas in the atmosphere using the heatshield jettisoned. Then, detailed chemistry data will be sorted. During the take-off to the surface which is an hour-long, the probe will acquire hundreds of photographs as it emerges from under the clouds at approximately 100,000 feet above the surface.

Stephanie Getty, the Goddard deputy principal investigator, explained that the probe will land in the mountains of Alpha Regio. However, it is not required to run once it touches down as all of the scientific data that is needed will be received prior to touching the surface. She said if they survive the landing at approximately 25 miles per hour, they could have a maximum of 17 to 18 minutes of operating functions on the surface that are under good conditions.

Written by Marrissa Kay
Edited by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

SciTechDaily: NASA’s DAVINCI Space Probe To Plunge Through Hellish Atmosphere of Venus; by Nancy Neal Jones
Science Daily: NASA’s Davinci mission to take the plunge through massive atmosphere of Venus
Newsbreak: NASA’s DAVINCI Space Probe To Plunge Through Hellish Atmosphere of Venus

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Bina’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of My Rotherham & Countryside.and worldwide’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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