From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Shukrayan Mission
Mains level : Interplanetary missions
India’s Venus mission has been conceived. The project report for ‘Shukrayaan-I’ – the name given to ISRO’s Venus mission, is ready and the budget has also been identified for it.
- Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is Earth’s closest planetary neighbor.
- It’s one of the four inner, terrestrial (or rocky) planets, and it’s often called Earth’s twin because it’s similar in size and density.
- Venus has a thick, toxic atmosphere filled with carbon dioxide and it’s perpetually shrouded in thick, yellowish clouds of sulphuric acid that trap heat, causing a runaway greenhouse effect.
- It’s the hottest planet in our solar system, even though Mercury is closer to the Sun.
- Surface temperatures on Venus are about 900 degrees Fahrenheit (475 degrees Celsius) – hot enough to melt lead.
- Venus has crushing air pressure at its surface – more than 90 times that of Earth – similar to the pressure you’d encounter a mile below the ocean on Earth.
Do you know?
Venus rotates on its axis backward, compared to most of the other planets in the solar system. This means that, on Venus, the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east, opposite to what we experience on Earth. (It’s not the only planet in our solar system with such an oddball rotation – Uranus spins on its side.)
What is Shukrayaan-I Mission?
- Shukrayaan will be India’s first orbiter mission to Venus after sending similar missions to the Moon and Mars.
- The mission aims to study the surface of the hottest planet in our solar system and unravel the mysteries under the Sulphuric Acid clouds enveloping it.
- The orbiter is the third mission announced to the inferno world of Venus after NASA announced two probes followed by a spacecraft by the European Space Agency.
- The probes will investigate the world looking for clues to understand the destructive past of Earth’s mysterious twin, which scientists believe once had vast reserves of water similar to our planet.
- Investigation of the surface processes and shallow sub-surface stratigraphy, including active volcanic hotspots and lava flows
- Studying the structure, composition, and dynamics of the atmosphere
- Investigation of solar wind interaction with the Venusian Ionosphere
Delay with the launch
- The ISRO is eyeing the December 2024 window for launch with orbital maneuvers planned for the following year.
- This is when earth and Venus would be so aligned that the spacecraft could be put in the neighboring planet’s orbit using a minimum amount of propellant.
- The next similar window would be available in 2031.