“Some of these answers lie on Earth, but some of them lie on Venus,” said Dr. Wilson.
EnVision will study these mysteries with a range of advanced scientific instruments. Its radar systems will look through Venus’ thick atmosphere and map both the surface and the rock layers up to 3,300 feet below the surface. A series of spectrometers looking in ultraviolet and infrared light will analyze the chemical composition of the atmosphere and distinguish between types of rocks on Earth. A radio science experiment will be able to use small changes in the planet’s gravity to analyze the layer cake structure of Venus̵
All of these instruments help answer another major query. “Is Venus alive or dead, geologically?” Dr. Wilson said. Venus, a world dominated by volcanoes and erupting graffiti, clearly had a geologically hyperactive past. Although most scientists suspect that Venus is still erupting today, the thick cloud cover has prevented confirmation of this idea, just as it had prevented the search for the marked ground-breaking motion of error.
By conducting surgical scientific studies of specific parts of the planet, EnVision will be able to thoroughly eliminate this uncertainty. It can detect the thermal signatures of active volcanoes, sniff the gaseous feathers from any erupting volcanoes, and look for evidence of continuous tectonic back and forth.
The spacecraft will also be able to look into Venus’ past and look for the scar tissue left by ancient plate tectonics and the relics of its epic, original volcanic activity – the kind that some suspects may have triggered the ongoing greenhouse effect, who dried the planet. It will also explore tesserae, curious plateaus that rise above plains with younger lava. Some believe that these may turn out to be deformed layers of continental-like rocks. If so, it means that they formed in the presence of liquid water – even more proof that Venus was once an ocean world.
As skilled as these three missions are, they do not solve all of Venus’s mysteries, as if phosphine, a gas potentially found in the planet’s clouds, is produced by microbial life.
But the hope is that this is the beginning of another Venusian renaissance. “It sets the stage for ongoing exploration of Venus,” said Dr. The bears, and only a wide range of missions to Venus – from multiple orbiters and probes to atmospheric balloons and landers – will let us discover why it became Earth’s evil twin.