NASA to launch 12 satellites to Venus 

Posted: April 11, 2017 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, atmosphere, innovation, News, research, solar system dynamics
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The satellites won’t land as the surface pressure – 92 times that of Earth – and heat of Venus would destroy them. Instead they will look for a ‘mysterious substance’ thought to be lurking in its atmosphere.

NASA has spent $3.6 million to build 12 small satellites to explore the planet Venus in search of a mysterious substance that absorbs half the planet’s light, reports The Daily Caller.

The CubeSat UV Experiment (CUVE) mission will launch the satellites to investigate atmospheric processes on Venus. The 12 satellites vary in size. One is less than four inches across and weighs a few ounces. Another weighs 400 pounds.

“CUVE will use remote sensing instruments to study the distribution of energy in Earth’s sister planet Venus,” Dr. Valeria Cottini, a NASA scientist at the University of Maryland in College Park, told “The mission is also designed to address the role of the cloud-top dynamics and chemistry in global energy balance. These results will constrain theories that describe the evolutionary processes of Venus.”

CUVE is a relatively new idea, coming out of a March conference in Texas between NASA an several universities. There is not yet a scheduled launch date for the satellites. NASA only recently begun funding the mission, but the probes will be one of the first projects to use miniaturized cube satellites for space research.

Continued here.

  1. JB says:

    That’s a good one–an unknown substance that lurks… Very exacting description.

  2. oldbrew says:

    NASA JPL is backing studies of Venus by:

    Christophe Sotin, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California: Cupid’s Arrow, a 66-pound (30-kilogram) probe to measure noble gases and their isotopes to investigate the geological evolution of Venus and why Venus and Earth have evolved so differently.

    Valeria Cottini, University of Maryland, College Park: CubeSat UV Experiment (CUVE), a 12-unit CubeSat orbiter to measure ultraviolet absorption and nightglow emissions to understand Venus’ atmospheric dynamics.
    – – –

  3. oldbrew says:

    Granted the atmospheric profile graphic above is a bit basic, but what temperature might be deduced at 1 Bar (the same pressure as Earth’s surface) in the Venusian atmosphere?

    Something in the range 0-20C perhaps… 😎

  4. Brett Keane says:

    We have them here, but you would know that. They show a normal T, same as ours, with allowance for solar distance. Maybe NASA, who gathered much of that data, is regaining its senses and will soon make ‘astounding’ discoveries. Such as, the gas laws are not breached by snowflake ‘science’. Wonders would never cease!

  5. bill h says:

    I sent a reply to a previous thread over an hour ago, but it hasn’t appeared. Any explanation?

    [mod] wordpress put your comment in the spam bin, retrieved it

  6. tom0mason says:

    “CUVE will use remote sensing instruments to study the distribution of energy in Earth’s sister planet Venus,”

    How and why should Venus be considered this planet’s ‘sister’, apart from mass and size being similar there is not much else.
    There’s the radical differences in atmospheres between them, and no evidence of seismic activity on Venus.
    Venus rotates backwards compared to the rest of the planets in the Solar System. Viewed from above all other planets rotate counter-clockwise, but Venus turns clockwise.
    Unlike Earth, Venus has a very circular orbit around the sun.
    Also Venus rotates very slowly so that its day is actually longer than its year. A Venusian day lasts 243 Earth days, while its year is 224.7 Earth days.

    Not exactly much of a match to this planet (must be the post-op trans illegitimate runt of the family).

  7. Ulric Lyons says:

    Venus polar atmosphere temperature profile (ESA spacecraft)

  8. John H. Harmon says:

    For tomOmason:
    Only partly in jest I would guess the Obama-Gore crowd likes Venus because it is hot and it’s atmosphere is largely CO2. NASA, and the Government it belongs to, are REALLY big and big human institutions are slow as the thinkers must tell the talkers what to say. Lots of lags. The change in priorities will take a bit.

  9. oldbrew says:

    tomO – there’s also the conundrum that Venus has almost no magnetic field but is able to maintain a much thicker atmosphere than Earth. Theory has it that Earth’s magnetosphere protects our atmosphere from being stripped away by the solar wind.

    Re Venus’ rotation: it may be upside down rather than ‘rotating backwards’. Its length of day (the time it takes for the Sun to rise, set, and return to the same place in the sky) is 116.75 days which is almost exactly 2/3rds of Mercury’s LOD.
    – – –
    Like Earth, Venus has an ozone layer

    This doesn’t quite fit the theory of organisms causing Earth’s ozone layer.

  10. tom0mason says:

    Thanks for the up-date oldbrew.

  11. oldbrew says:

    Where the Venus air pressure is similar to the surface of Earth (i.e. around 1 bar), so is the temperature…

    As manned ships sent to Venus would be able to compensate for differences in temperature to a certain extent, anywhere from about 50 to 54 km or so above the surface would be the easiest altitude in which to base an exploration or colony, where the temperature would be in the crucial “liquid water” range of 273 K (0 °C) to 323 K (50 °C) and the air pressure the same as habitable regions of Earth.

    Venus 96.5% CO2, Earth 0.04% CO2.

  12. oldbrew says:

    From 1 Bar to the surface at ~90 Bar the black line of the Venus atmospheric profile is virtually straight.

    Clearly that’s not due to the radiative properties of any particular gas in the atmosphere, rather to the total pressure generated by that atmosphere i.e. its mass. Standard physics…

  13. oldbrew says:

    Possible joint Russia-US mission to Venus takes shape

    From the blarney department of we’ve-got-a-mission-to-pay-for:
    ‘Venus, which has an extremely hot and hazardous environment, is a “natural laboratory to study the greenhouse effect,” Zasova said. Research on Venus could help understand the effect better and perhaps prevent it from going to extremes on Earth.’
    – – –
    Two words: lapse rate.