NASA’s DAVINCI spacecraft plunges into Venus’ hellish atmosphere

NASA’s DAVINCI mission will study the origin, evolution, and current state of Venus in unprecedented detail from near the cloud tops to the planet’s surface. The goal of this mission is to help answer longstanding questions about our neighboring planet, especially whether Venus is as wet and habitable as Earth is. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

last year, NASA has been selected It DAVINCI’S MISSION As part of its Discovery program. It will investigate the origin, development and condition[{” attribute=””>Venus in unparalleled detail from near the top of the clouds to the planet’s surface. Venus, the hottest planet in the solar system, has a thick, toxic atmosphere filled with carbon dioxide and an incredible pressure of pressure is 1,350 psi (93 bar) at the surface.

Named after visionary Renaissance artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci, the DAVINCI mission Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging will be the first probe to enter the Venus atmosphere since <span class="glossaryLink" aria-describedby="tt" data-cmtooltip="


Established in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. It's vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity."-” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{” attribute=””>NASA’s Pioneer Venus in 1978 and USSR’s Vega in 1985. It is scheduled to launch in the late 2020s.

Now, in a recently published paper, NASA scientists and engineers give new details about the agency’s Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging (DAVINCI) mission, which will descend through the layered Venus atmosphere to the surface of the planet in mid-2031. DAVINCI is the first mission to study Venus using both spacecraft flybys and a descent probe.

DAVINCI, a flying analytical chemistry laboratory, will measure critical aspects of Venus’ massive atmosphere-climate system for the first time, many of which have been measurement goals for Venus since the early 1980s. It will also provide the first descent imaging of the mountainous highlands of Venus while mapping their rock composition and surface relief at scales not possible from orbit. The mission supports measurements of undiscovered gases present in small amounts and the deepest atmosphere, including the key ratio of hydrogen isotopes – components of water that help reveal the history of water, either as liquid water oceans or steam within the early atmosphere.

NASA has selected the DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry, and Imaging+) mission as part of its discovery program, and it will be the first probe to enter Venus’s atmosphere since NASA’s Venus astronauts in 1978 and USSR Vega in 1985. Name the DAVINCI+ mission to Renaissance artist and scholar, Leonardo da Vinci, to bring 21st century technology into the next world. DAVINCI+ can reveal whether Earth’s twin planets look very similar to Earth’s past twins, perhaps friendly to oceans and continents. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The mission’s Carrier, Relay, and Imaging (CRIS) spacecraft has two instruments on board that will study the planet’s clouds and map highland areas as a Venus flyby, and will also drop five small instrument landers that will provide new information. measurement with very high accuracy as it descends to the surface of the infernal Venus.

“This collection of chemical, environmental and lineage data will paint a picture of the layers of Venus’ atmosphere and how they interact with the surface in the Alpha Reggio Mountains, which is twice the size of Texas,” said Jim Garvin, lead author. From a research paper in the Journal of Planetary Science and DAVINCI Principal Investigator of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “These measurements will allow us to assess aspects of atmospheric history as well as detect special rock types on the surface such as granite while also looking for landscape features that could tell us about erosion or other formative processes.”

Da Vinci's research near the surface of Venus

DAVINCI will send a probe one meter in diameter to withstand high temperatures and pressures near the surface of Venus to explore the atmosphere from above the clouds to near the surface of what may be a former continent. During the last kilometer of its free fall (artist impression shown here), the probe will capture stunning images and chemical measurements of Venus’ deepest atmosphere for the first time. Credit: NASA/GSFC/CI Labs

DAVINCI will use three types of Venus gravity aids, which provide fuel by using the planet’s gravity to change the speed and/or direction of the CRIS flight system. The first two gravity assistants will help prepare CRIS for a Venus flyby to perform remote sensing in the ultraviolet and near infrared, acquiring more than 60 gigabytes of new data on the atmosphere and surface. Venus’ third gravitational assist will create a spacecraft to launch probes for entry, descent, flag and landing, as well as follow-up transmissions back to Earth.

Venus’ first flyby will take six and a half months after launch, and it will take two years to put the probe into position to re-enter the atmosphere above the Alpha Region under perfect illumination at “daylight”, with the aim of measuring the landscape of Venus at a scale of 328. feet (100 meters) to finer than one meter. These gauges allow land-force geological studies to be carried out in the Venus Mountains without the need to make a landing.

Da Vinci Inner Atmospheric Probes descend through Venus' dense carbon dioxide atmosphereDa Vinci Inner Atmospheric Probes descend through Venus' dense carbon dioxide atmosphere

Inner Atmospheric Explorer DAVINCI descends through Venus’ dense carbon dioxide atmosphere towards the Alpha Region Mountains. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Once CRIS is about two days from Venus, the probe’s flight system will launch along with the three-foot (one-meter) titanium probe securely encased inside. The probe will begin interacting with Venus’ upper atmosphere 75 miles (120 kilometers) above the surface. The science investigation will begin scientific observations once the heat shield is removed about 42 miles (67 kilometers) above the surface. With the heat shield removed, the probe inlet will ingest atmospheric gas samples for detailed chemical measurements of the type made on[{”attribute=””>MarswiththeCuriosityroverDuringitshour-longdescenttothesurfacetheprobewillalsoacquirehundredsofimagesassoonasitemergesunderthecloudsataround100000feet(30500meters)abovethelocalsurface[{”attribute=””>MarswiththeCuriosityroverDuringitshour-longdescenttothesurfacetheprobewillalsoacquirehundredsofimagesassoonasitemergesunderthecloudsataround100000feet(30500meters)abovethelocalsurface

“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 Stephanie Getty, deputy principal investigator from Goddard. “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.”

DAVINCI is tentatively scheduled to launch June 2029 and enter the Venusian atmosphere in June 2031.

“No previous mission within the Venus atmosphere has measured the chemistry or environments at the detail that DAVINCI’s probe can do,” said Garvin. “Furthermore, no previous Venus mission has descended over the tesserae highlands of Venus, and none have conducted descent imaging of the Venus surface. DAVINCI will build on what Huygens probe did at Titan and improve on what previous in situ Venus missions have done, but with 21st century capabilities and sensors.”

Reference: “Revealing the Mysteries of Venus: The DAVINCI Mission” by James B. Garvin, Stephanie A. Getty, Giada N. Arney, Natasha M. Johnson, Erika Kohler, Kenneth O. Schwer, Michael Sekerak, Arlin Bartels, Richard S. Saylor, Vincent E. Elliott, 24 May 2022, The Planetary Science Journal.
DOI: 10.3847/PSJ/ac63c2

NASA Goddard is the principal investigator institution for DAVINCI and will perform project management for the mission, provide science instruments as well as project systems engineering to develop the probe flight system. Goddard also leads the project science support team with an external science team from across the US. Discovery Program class missions like DAVINCI complement NASA’s larger “flagship” planetary science explorations, with the goal of achieving outstanding results by launching more smaller missions using fewer resources and shorter development times. They are managed for NASA’s Planetary Science Division by the Planetary Missions Program Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Major partners for DAVINCI are Lockheed Martin, Denver, Colorado, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, California, NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Federal Airfield in California’s Silicon Valley, and KinetX, Inc., Tempe, Arizona, as well as the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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