This spacecraft will be DEAD in just 5 minutes on reaching Venus | Tech News

This spacecraft will be DEAD in just 5 minutes on reaching Venus

Rocket Lab to become the first private company to reach Venus and explore its clouds for habitability with the launch in 2023, but its spacecraft will die within minutes of reaching there.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Aug 30 2022, 15:47 IST
FILE - In this file photo made available by NASA shows the planet Venus made with data from the Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter.  Two spacecraft are set to swoop past Venus within hours of each other this week, using the manoeuvre to do a little bit of bonus science on the way to the center of our solar system, starting with the Solar Orbiter probe operated by NASA and the European Space Agency early Monday Aug. 9, 2021  (NASA/JPL-Caltech FILE via AP)
FILE - In this file photo made available by NASA shows the planet Venus made with data from the Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. Two spacecraft are set to swoop past Venus within hours of each other this week, using the manoeuvre to do a little bit of bonus science on the way to the center of our solar system, starting with the Solar Orbiter probe operated by NASA and the European Space Agency early Monday Aug. 9, 2021 (NASA/JPL-Caltech FILE via AP) (AP)

SpaceX might have its eye on Mars, but Rocket Lab is likely to become the first private company to reach Venus and explore its clouds for habitability. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) selected three new missions to explore the planet but they're expected to return results in the later 2020s or 2030s. However, Peter Beck, the CEO of the New Zealand–based launch company Rocket Lab, was contacted by a group of MIT scientists to launch one of the company's rockets in 2023 to hunt for life on Venus much sooner. The details of the mission have now been published and it says that the spacecraft will have just five minutes in the clouds of Venus to collect data and radio them back to Earth as it plummets towards the surface. The details also shared that the additional data could be collected below the clouds, but only if it survives- the chances are negligible.

The rocket is currently being developed by a team of fewer than 30 people, led by Sara Seager at MIT. The rocket is speculated to be launched as soon as May 2023 and would take five months to reach Venus, arriving in October 2023. “This is the simplest, cheapest, and best thing you could do to try and make a great discovery,” says Seager.

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As shared by Nature.com, the spacecraft is small, weighing just 45 pounds and measuring 15 inches across. It has a cone-shaped design with a heat shield at the front, to bear the brunt of the intense heat generated by the Photon craft before arrival. It will hit the Venusian atmosphere at 40,000 kilometres per hour.

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The reports further suggest that there will be no camera on board to take images. “We have to be very, very frugal with the data that we're sending back,” said Beck.

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First Published Date: 30 Aug, 15:47 IST
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