The second planet from the sun, the brightest named after the Roman Goddess of Love and beauty is Venus. The only planet named after a female, probably because she shone the brightest.
However, research and investigation shows that Venus has a very hellish environment. It is a very difficult planet to observe from close quarters as spacecrafts do not survive long on its surface.
Earth and Venus are often called twins because of their almost similar size, mass, density, composition and gravity. However, the similarity ends there as it is the hottest planet in the solar system. Temperatures in Venus reach to 870 degrees Fahrenheit, heat that can melt lead. The Magellan spacecraft also referred to as Venus Radar Mapper was a robotic space probe launched by NASA, United States on the 4th of May 1989.
The probes sent by researchers before have only survived few hours before they got destroyed.
This hasn’t daunted the spirits and the European Space Agency (ESA) is working on a potential mission to Venus. The project Envision will follow on from ESA’s very successful Venus Express which focused primarily on atmospheric study of Venus. Envision is planned with active participation from NASA and the focus is on gathering more information on the nature and the current state of geological activity of Venus and its relationship with atmosphere which would throw more light on the different evolutionary pathways of both the planets, Earth and Mars. The planned launch date of ESA’s fifth medium class mission in its Cosmic Vision Science program is estimated by 2032.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena