NASA Plans to Send Hot Air Balloons to Study Venus

The planet Venus is the second planet from the sun and also the hottest world in the solar system. The planet’s extreme temperature and atmospheric pressure prevent us from sending any spacecraft. The National National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently funded a team of scientists to research into the possibility of sending a mission to Venus. According to the researchers, Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets.

NASA’s JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the extreme temperature. Venus and Earth are often called twins, as they are similar in size, mass, density, composition, and gravity.

In spite of being a planetary neighbor, we don’t know much about Venus. Till now, we have to see that it is super heated due to greenhouse gases. It is considered that millions of years ago, it could have been a temperate planet like Earth. However, now it is a planet full of volcanoes, giant mountains, and clouds of sulfur. Though Mercury is closer to the sun, Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system because of the greenhouse gases, which create the temperature up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sue Smrekar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab explained in a statement, “Venus is like control case for Earth.”

“We believe they started out with the same composition, the same water, and carbon dioxide. And they’ve gone down two completely different paths. So why? What are the key forces responsible for the differences?”

The group of Smrekar wants to return to Venus to study how it is separated from Earth. To make the landing of any spacecraft is near to impossible in Venus due to the extreme temperatures. NASA has never landed a craft; though USSR sent an aircraft there during the 70s and 80s, none lasted longer than a few hours.

A more intelligent approach will be sent to an orbiter that could observe the planet from a safe distance. It is likely to say that Smrekar and her team will be able to answer the questions about the plate tectonics of Venus. They proposed to use multiple hot air balloons to ride through the Venusian atmosphere that may work due to the thick atmosphere that is enough to float in. A balloon will provide more close up data that is safer than landing.