Now that we have landed probes on Mars, a team from NASA wants to send one our much warmer “twin planet.”
The idea would be to put a rover on Venus, but instead of a battery, the Venus rover would be powered by a sail. Dr. Brian Murphy with Butler University‘s Holcomb Observatory says that‘s possible because the atmospheric pressure on Venus is equivalent to 3,000 feet below sea level on Earth.
Spacecraft from the U.S. and the former Soviet Union have landed on Venus before, but they haven‘t survived for long since the surface temperature is 900 degrees. Still, Murphy says we have designed components for jet engines and other items to withstand high temperatures for long periods of time, so a Venus landing craft shouldn‘t be a problem.
Studying Venus is not important in that humans could ever inhabit the planet, but scientists say there is much to learn from an environment which, millions of years ago, may have been similar to Earth‘s.
“We do believe it once had oceans, but those oceans evaporated and created a runaway greenhouse effect. That‘s what raised the temperature and put it in the state it is today,” said Murphy.