More details are emerging about China’s potential mission to Venus as part of the country’s expanding space exploration program.
The Suggested taskcalled Venus Volcano Imaging and Climate Explorer (VOICE), will launch in 2026 and reach orbit around the world’s hottest and brightest planets. Solar System In 2027, according to details from July 9 Meeting to discuss the task.
The spacecraft will use a circular polar orbit 220 miles (350 kilometers) high to investigate VenusGeological evolution, thermal and chemical processes in the planet’s atmosphere, surface and atmospheric interactions, the possibility of a habitable environment and life in the clouds of Venus.
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Science tools will include the S-band synthetic aperture polar radar, which can peer through floral clouds and map the surface, and a multispectral imager that can observe Venus at ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared wavelengths.
VOICE is a candidate mission for the space science program somewhat separate from China’s major lunar and planetary exploration missions led by the China National Space Administration (CNSA), which include Tianwen 1 Mars mission planned Tianwen 2 near-Earth asteroid and Return of the Mars sample missions.
Instead, the proposed mission is being evaluated as one of 13 candidate missions under the Third Strategic Priority Program (SPP) on space sciences led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The VOICE mission appears to be competing with three others in the Planetary category and a land Science: Type E asteroid sample return mission to collect samples from asteroid 1989 ML and deliver them to Earth, low earth orbit Climate and Atmospheric Components Exploration Satellite, Multiscale Observation Mission of the Ocean Surface Current.
It is not clear how many missions will be approved, but candidates will be evaluated in the near future based on available budget, technology readiness and manufacturing schedule.
Other suggestions in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics, outer planets (The Close-up survey of habitable exoplanets And the Earth 2.0 telescopes) and solar physics.
The first round of Chinese SPP missions saw the launch of four spacecraft, including a Dark Matter Probe and quantum science satellite. The second round of the SPP tour will include the Einstein probe, which will be launched in 2023 to investigate extreme physics, and the solar wind magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) to explore the interactions between the sun and earth.
The third round of missions is likely to begin between 2026 and the end of the decade.
If selected, VOICE will join a pair of NASA missions to Venus (VERITAS and DAVINCI+) and ESA’s Imagine The spacecraft as part of a wave of renewed interest in Venus.
In addition, California-based Rocket Lab aims to launch a special Venus mission In 2023 and India plans to send the Shukran spacecraft into space After one year. Russia has also announced plans for a mission called Venera-D, scheduled to launch in 2029. The Russian invasion of Ukraine ended potential NASA participation in the mission.
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