Moon and Venus | StarDate On-line
Someday within the subsequent decade or two, a balloon might soar by means of the clouds of Venus, trying to find proof of life. Or a skimmer that appears like a manta ray may zoom together with the planet’s high-altitude winds, circling Venus in only a few days.
Each concepts acquired funding earlier this 12 months to assist develop the ideas. There’s no assure that both will ever fly — solely that they’ll get a glance.
The balloon would spend a number of days bobbing between altitudes of about 30 and 40 miles. It will pattern the environment beneath the clouds, and collect as a lot as a gram of fabric contained in the clouds. Analysis in recent times has prompt that microscopic organisms might reside there, although the clouds are manufactured from sulfuric acid. The pattern container would rocket to a rendezvous with an orbiter for the journey to Earth.
The manta-ray idea is called BREEZE. It, too, could be an inflatable craft. It will keep at about the identical altitudes because the balloon. However it might alter its form to experience together with the high-level winds. Its devices would measure the composition of the environment, the planet’s weak magnetic discipline, and particulars concerning the winds. And it might use radar to map the floor — from excessive above the floor of Venus.
Search for Venus at daybreak tomorrow. It’s the good “morning star,” near the appropriate of the crescent Moon. The fainter planet Mercury is to the decrease left, simply above the horizon.
Script by Damond Benningfield