Aerial Platform Design Options for a Life-Finding Mission at Venus

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
August 14, 2022
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Aerial Platform Design Options for a Life-Finding Mission at Venus
Venus Life Finder Aerial Platform

Mounting evidence of chemical disequilibria in the Venusian atmosphere has heightened interest in the search for life within the planet’s cloud decks. Balloon systems are currently considered to be the superior class of aerial platform for extended atmospheric sampling within the clouds, providing the highest ratio of science return to risk.

Balloon-based aerial platform designs depend heavily on payload mass and target altitudes. We present options for constant- and variable-altitude balloon systems designed to carry out science operations inside the Venusian cloud decks.

The Venus Life Finder (VLF) mission study proposes a series of missions that require extended in situ analysis of Venus cloud material. We provide an overview of a representative mission architecture, as well as gondola designs to accommodate a VLF instrument suite.

Current architecture asserts a launch date of 30 July 2026, which would place an orbiter and entry vehicle at Venus as early as November 29 of that same year.

Weston P. Buchanan, Maxim de Jong, Rachana Agrawal, Janusz J. Petkowski, Archit Arora, Sarag J. Saikia, Sara Seager, James M. Longuski (for the VLF Collaboration)

Comments: Based on the text of the Venus Life Finder Mission Study report (arXiv:2112.05153). Published in Aerospace as a part of the Special Issue “The Search for Signs of Life on Venus: Science Objectives and Mission Designs” (this https URL)
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2208.05579 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2208.05579v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
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Journal reference: Aerospace 9.7 (2022): 363
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Submission history
From: Janusz Petkowski
[v1] Wed, 10 Aug 2022 22:13:48 UTC (23,806 KB)


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