Mars is a mistake? First human mission must be to Venus, say experts

NASA's Moon to Mars strategy could face revision! Experts want the first crewed mission to another planet to be Venus, not Mars.

| Updated on: Sep 26 2022, 21:32 IST
NASA DART Mission in pics: Amazing Attack on Asteroid!
1/6 NASA with its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission spacecraft is all set to collide with a non-hazardous asteroid called Dimorphos in order to test planetary defence on Monday, September 26. The learnings from this asteroid attack will be used to protect Earth from asteroids that are heading for a collision with our planet. According to NASA, this will be the world's first mission to deflect an asteroid in space. NASA’s DART, built and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, will demonstrate and test asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor. (Bloomberg)
2/6 Dimorphos, the asteroid moonlet of Didymos poses no threat to Earth. The DART spacecraft had recently got its first look at Didymos, the double-asteroid system that includes its target, Dimorphos. It is being said that in 2024, the European Space Agency (ESA) will send a space probe to Dimorphos as part of the space mission HERA. The aim of the mission is to visually investigate the aftermath of the DART probe impact. (NASA )
3/6 When to watch: The live broadcast of the event will start on September 26 at 6 p.m., EDT. The spacecraft will impact its target asteroid at 7:14 p.m. EDT, while at 8:00 p.m. ET, the research organisation will host a post-impact press briefing. (AFP)
4/6 Where to watch: The historic collision can be watched live online as NASA will be broadcasting the same. NASA will broadcast the live coverage of DART’s impact with the asteroid Dimorphos on NASA TV and its several social media handles like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. (AFP)
5/6 About asteroids: According to NASA, More than 100 tons of dust and sand sized particles are bombarded towards Earth everyday. While, about once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface. Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area. Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth's civilization comes along. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences. (AP)
6/6 Space rocks smaller than about 25 meters (about 82 feet) will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and cause little or no damage. By comparison, asteroids that populate the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and pose no threat to Earth, can be as big as 940 kilometers (about 583 miles) across. (MINT_PRINT)
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A trip to Venus soon? Know what experts say about this venture. (NASA)

Although it is called Earth's twin, Venus is anything but. According to NASA, Venus is nearly identical in shape and density to Earth but its atmosphere is toxic and filled with carbon dioxide. Its sulfuric acid-based clouds rain down toxic acid which destroys everything in its path, a stark contrast to Earth's atmosphere where life thrives. But experts still advocate a trip to the neighbouring planet for the first crewed mission to another planet.

According to The Guardian, in a report presented at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris last week, experts have called for a mission to Venus instead of Mars. Although Mars' conditions are harsh, experts still consider it more viable due to its close proximity to Earth, taking an year to complete a return mission.

Dr Noam Izenberg of the Johns Hopkins University applied physics laboratory and one of the proponents of the Venus flyby said as per The Guardian, “Venus gets a bad rap because it's got such a difficult surface environment.”

“The current Nasa paradigm is moon-to-Mars. We're trying to make the case for Venus as an additional target on that pathway,” he added further, as per the Guardian. Izenberg has advocated for Venus missions previously in 2020 where he stated that a crewed mission to Venus could take place enroute Mars trip.

First private mission to Venus

Not only Government space agencies, but private space companies are also determined to search for signs of life on other planets. A private space company called Rocket Lab is getting ready to send its spacecraft to Venus next year to search for signs of life.

Although more than 30 missions to Venus have already been carried out by space agencies around the globe, this will be the first time a private company is at the forefront of the mission.

In 2020, scientists at Cardiff University and MIT University announced they had found signs of life in the clouds of Venus through an indication of Phosphine gas which is usually produced by living organisms. To study this, Rocket Lab will send a mission to Venus in 2023 to search for any other signs of life.

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First Published Date: 26 Sep, 21:32 IST