NASA has set a tentative launch date of June 2029 for its DAVINCI Mission to Venus, with a probe expected to descend through the planet’s atmosphere and to its surface by mid-2031.
Scientists and engineers offered new details about the mission in a recent paper, published in The Planetary Science Journal.
Named after the famed artist Leonardo da Vinci, the DAVINCI or Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry and Imaging mission is the first to study Venus using spacecraft flybys and a descent probe, NASA says.
The agency announced the mission in June 2021 along with VERITAS, which will map the planet’s surface from orbit to help determine its geologic history.
The mission will measure Venus’s atmosphere-climate system for the first time and include the first descent imaging of the planet’s mountainous highlands, NASA says.
Jim Garvin, lead author of the research paper and DAVINCI principal investigator from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said the measurements will allow them to detect special rock types at the surface and look for signs of erosion.
“No previous mission within the Venus atmosphere has measured the chemistry or environments at the detail that DAVINCI’s probe can do,” Garvin said in a statement from NASA.
The first flyby of Venus will be six-and-a-half months after launch, NASA says, and it will take two years for the probe to get into position for entry into the planet’s atmosphere over the Alpha Regio region.
The probe’s descent to the surface of Venus is expected to last one hour, during which it will acquire hundreds of images once it emerges from the clouds at approximately 100,000 feet or 30,500 metres above the local surface.
With files from Reuters