Short Course

Destination Venus: Science, Technology and Mission Architectures

The IPPW Short Course runs the weekend before the IPPW conference and offers a detailed examination of a special topic. The dates for this IPPW-13 are June 11-12, 2016.

Short Course at IPPW-13

Venus, Earth’s twin planet, is similar in size and solar system location to the Earth, but, in many respects is vastly different. Although it was the first planet to be visited with a robotic spacecraft further exploration has been impeded by its dense atmosphere and the high surface temperatures. This short course covers the scientific issues that motivate Venus exploration, the mission architectures that will be needed to carry it out and the new technologies that some of these architectural concepts will require.

Venus poses many perplexing scientific questions. Why is it so different from the Earth? Why did it experience a runaway greenhouse effect? What happened to the water? Why is its rotation retrograde? Why does it lack the planet tectonics that have sculpted the face of our own world? Is there an underlying connection between these distinctive Venusian attributes?

In half a century of robotic exploration, more than 38 spacecraft have visited Venus including flybys, orbiters, short lived landers and balloons. Most recently, the Japanese orbiter Akatsuki entered Venus orbit at the second attempt in December 2015 and US and Russia are actively planning future missions including an orbiter (VERITAS), probe (DAVINCI) and a lander (VENERA-D). Future missions beyond these will require the development of new scientific and technological capabilities and architectural approaches optimized for uncovering the mysteries of Venus.

Venus has environments in its middle atmosphere with temperatures and pressures that are Earthlike. However, operation beneath this habitable zone will required advances in electronics and power technologies. Entry descent and precision landing in the dense obscuring atmosphere will require solutions tailored to Venus.

The short course will include a series of lectures by experts in the science, mission design and technology and will culminate in team activities in which participants put together what they have learned into concepts for advanced Venus missions.