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 Astrowatch.net. “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.