Recently, NASA released the plan and details about their future mission “Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gasses, Chemistry, and Imaging (DAVINCI).”

According to NASA, they’re planning to launch the mission before 2029. NASA’s DAVINCI mission will help us uncover the secrets of Earth’s sister planet and its atmosphere. the goal of the DAVINCI mission is to study the formation, evolution, and composition of Venus.

 

“The probe will touch down in the Alpha Regio mountains but is not required to operate once it lands, as all of the required science data will be taken before reaching the surface,” said NASA scientist Stephanie Getty. “If we survive the touchdown at about 25 miles per hour (12 meters/second), we could have up to 17-18 minutes of operations on the surface under ideal conditions.”

Dime-sized Sensor To Uncover All The Secrets Of Venus
Dime-sized Sensor To Uncover All The Secrets Of Venus

NASA revealed a new main component of the DAVINCI probe in a recent update about the mission. The component will be dropped on the surface of the planet through its thick clouds.

The extremely important part of the DAVINCI probe would be an electronic sensor that will be developed by undergraduate and graduate students under the mission’s Student Collaboration Experiment. According to NASA, the name of this sensor will be “Venus Oxygen Fugacity (VfOx),” the size of the sensor will be equal to the size of a button or a dime.

It will be fixed on the side of the DAVINCI Descent Sphere. NASA released a picture of the prototype of the VFOx Sensor. This sensor would help study and determine the chemical composition of Venus’ surface.

 

According to the latest updates released by NASA, the VFOx will be completely designed, fabricated, tested, operated, and analyzed by the students, the VfOx sensor will be used to determine the most stable minerals at the planet’s surface and in the highlands and link the formation of rocks to their recent modification histories.

Also, the sensor can measure the amount of oxygen content present near Venus’ surface to determine facts about the chemical reactions going on between the rocks and the atmosphere. Measuring the balance in Venus’ atmospheric oxygen versus the oxygen in the rocks would reveal the secrets about the surface minerals of “tessera”, a mountainous region on the planet that has never been visited by a spacecraft.

Dime-sized Sensor To Uncover All The Secrets Of Venus

The sensor will be made out of ceramic material because ceramic is resistant to sudden temperature changes and the material will provide the sensor the strength to survive the extreme atmosphere of Venus. The planet’s atmosphere is 90 times denser than Earth’s so the atmosphere is extremely hot that it can even melt lead.

The measurements and data from VfOx would help scientists study exoplanets like Venus using the James Webb Space Telescope.

“Understanding how much oxygen is contained in Venus’ atmosphere will be important in preparation for characterizing Venus-like worlds beyond our solar system with the JWST and future observatories,” NASA said in a statement.

“How much oxygen Venus has in its deepest atmosphere will help scientists studying these remote worlds distinguish between oxygen produced by life, such as what happens on Earth, from the oxygen produced solely by abiotic chemical planetary processes, such as what happens on Venus”, the agency said.

“This ensemble of chemistry, environmental, and descent imaging data will paint a picture of the layered Venus atmosphere and how it interacts with the surface in the mountains of Alpha Regio, which is twice the size of Texas,” said Jim Garvin, DAVINCI principal investigator at NASA.

“These measurements will allow us to evaluate historical aspects of the atmosphere as well as to detect special rock types at the surface such as granites while also looking for tell-tale landscape features that could tell us about erosion or other formational processes,” he concluded.

The DAVINCI mission will give us the first set of high-resolution images of this planet detailing its geological features, which may be comparable to Earth’s continents, suggesting that Venus has plate tectonics. Also, the mission will help us find the first clues to the possibility of life ever existing on Venus.

 

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