The first private mission to Venus won’t launch this year after all.
“Our focus now is on delivering customer missions as a priority,” a Rocket Lab spokesperson told the website, without providing a detailed explanation for the delay. January 2025 was the original backup release window for Venus investigation, according to MIT Technology Review.
Related: Here’s every successful Venus mission humanity has ever launched
Rocket Lab announced Venus mission planned for August 2020then the embodiment of its architecture in She published a paper in the journal Aerospace two years later. The primary goal is to explore the atmosphere of Venus to search for the conditions necessary for the existence of life.
Venus, the hottest planet in the solar system, is generally a sight to behold, with surface temperatures Hot enough to melt lead. But some clues have emerged that microbial life may be able to exist high in the skies of Venus, where conditions are more similar to Earth’s.
In 2020, researchers discovered signs of phosphine in the clouds of Venus. this Create a sensationBecause here on Earth, this colorless, flammable, toxic compound is found in swamps and other locations as a by-product of microbial life.
“I always felt Venus had a strong rap,” Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck He said last year while talking about the mission. “The discovery of phosphine was the catalyst. We need to go to Venus to look for life.”
Find the alleged Venus Phosphine – claim it It is still disputed today Help renew scientific interest in the second planet from the sun. For example, NASA is developing two missions to Venus, DAVINCI and Truth, honestyscheduled for release in late 2020 and early 2030.
The probe proposed by Rocket Lab, a California-based launch company, would reach Venus before that of NASA’s spacecraft, and it would also be much cheaper. The mission is being funded by Rocket Lab, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and undisclosed philanthropists and has an estimated cost of just $10 million. This represents only 1% of the total estimated cost of NASA’s upcoming Venus missions.
The probe will also be small, at 15 inches (38 cm) wide, slightly larger than a basketball hoop, and weighing just 45 pounds (20.4 kg). The Venus mini-probe will leave Earth on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket and will then be transported to the planet Hell by the company Photon spacecraft bus.
The probe’s trip to Venus will be short, lasting only five months, but its data collection period will be even shorter. The probe will have just three to five minutes to gather data as it descends from an altitude of 37 to 28 miles (60 to 45 km) in atmosphere of Venusthe area where scientists saw signs of phosphine in 2020.
The probe will not search for that chemical, but it will search for other complex organic molecules, measuring their composition, concentration and shapes during their nightmarish descent. This data will be sent back to Land Before the fracturing pressures and high temperatures on the surface of Venus destroy the probe.
The discovery of organic molecules will not prove that microbial life exists in the clouds of Venus. But it could indicate that this infernal realm is more hospitable than previously thought.
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