“A new era in the exploration of our closest, yet wildly different, Solar System neighbour awaits us. Together with the newly announced NASA-led Venus missions, we will have an extremely comprehensive science programme at this enigmatic planet well into the next decade,” ESA Director of Science Günther Hasinger said.
On June 10, ESA Science Programme Committee selected EnVision as the fifth Medium-class mission. Its launch is planned in the early 2030s.
EnVision follows on from ESA’s highly successful Venus Express (2005-2014) that mostly focused on atmospheric research. EnVision will significantly improve on the radar images of the surface obtained by NASA’s Magellan in the 1990s.
The mission of EnVision is to explore the inner core of Venus up to the upper atmosphere to determine how and why Venus and Earth evolved so differently.
The key issue of the planetology is why, despite the similar size and composition, our nearest neighbor in the Solar System has suffered from such sharp change of climate: instead of being habitable like Earth, it has a toxic atmosphere and with thick sulphuric acid-rich clouds.
The story lived by the Venus to reach the current state and whether it is possible on the basis of it to predict the fate of the Earth if it suffers the catastrophic greenhouse effect – are the issues for the new ESA mission.
Earlier, NASA announced that it sends two new missions to Venus for the study of the atmosphere and geologic peculiarities of the planet.
As we reported, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration published the first video from the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. The video shows that the Ingenuity helicopter was able to get off the ground and ‘hang’ above the surface of the planet for a while.