venus: Venus mission aims to have unique outcome: Isro chief Somanath | India News

BENGALURU: Isro, which has on its drawing board an orbiter mission to Venus, is working on achieving a unique outcome so as to justify it to the nation, chairman S Somanath said on Wednesday.
At the inaugural of the National Meet on Venus Science, Somanath said that while the mission to study the planet, largely mysterious despite several science missions by space-faring nations, was justifiable to the fraternity, the aim is to have a unique outcome.
Isro and a host of academic institutions on Wednesday discussed various science questions revolving around Venus and the space agency is expected to further continue dialogues before firming up the mission plan. Given the budgetary and resources constraint, Somanath said it was essential to convince decision-makers the use space science missions have for the nation.
“The mission can be done very quickly, there is capability for that. But today, we are looking at what contributions the mission makes. We’ll review what we’ve done and what can be added, look at whether we are simply repeating what’s already been done just to validate that even we can do it or whether it can achieve something unique. Unique outcomes like Chandrayaan, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and Astrosat are needed for science missions,” Somanath said.
He pointed out that given the budgetary and resource constraint give rise to conflicting requirements for planning. “A mission like this is expensive. We need to dedicate a launch vehicle, build a spacecraft and engage a lot of human resources. There’s huge investment and it is, therefore, important to prove to decision makers why the mission is important,” Somanath said.
Reiterating that while even just doing the science part of the mission “is progress”, he said unique outcomes would make the mission more convincing. “It is important that we not only cater to the scientists’ inner desire to learn, but it must also prove useful for the country. So the benefits of learning about Venus must be made known to the country, we need to help create new talent pool and sustain them,” he added.
mission plan
As per initial plans, Isro’s spacecraft is expected to be injected into a 500km×60,000km orbit around Venus, which will be reduced to 300×300km science orbit via aerobraking, which may take 100 to 150 orbits around Venus, that is six to eight months here, as per Nigar Shaji, the study director of the proposed mission.
While Nigar reiterated some plans, including the mission phases: Earth-bound and trans-Venus phase; Earth-to-Venus transfer, heliocentric phase (including trajectory correction maneuvers); Venus orbit insertion; aerobraking phase and the Venus science orbit phase.
She also elaborated on the various challenges the space agency would have to overcome during each of these phases.
T Maria Antonita from Isro Space Science Program Office, elaborated on the various objectives of the mission, which can be put under three broad categories each of which have further sub-objectives.
The key objectives are: Investigation of surface process and shallow subsurface stratigraphy; study of the structure, composition and dynamics of the atmosphere and the third, investigation of Solar wind interaction with Venusian ionosphere.
Under these, Isro will study active volcanism, occurrence of lightning, craters, presence of Oxygen, Venus’ geology, etc.


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