NASA’s mission to Venus will carry this coin-sized gadget!

Pat J. Fraley


NASA will be launching its mission to Venus later this decade which will carry an instrument built by students. What is it? How will it help scientists? Check details here.

NASA is all set for its mission to Venus at the end of this decade to explore the mysteries of the planet. The new development comes from the space agency Venus Oxygen Fugacity (VfOx), a small, button-sized sensor which will be designed, fabricated, tested, operated, and analyzed by students aboard NASA’s DAVINCI Mission. These students will be undergraduates and graduates who will join the mission team under the Student Collaboration Experiment. This will allow students to build the VfOx device, analyze the data collected by it after returning from Venus, and also, participate in science activities with the DAVINCI science team. NASA explained the role of this VfOx device in uncovering unknown facts of Venus. Also Read: NASA Hubble Space Telescope spots Hidden Galaxy behind Milky Way Galaxy!

What is the DAVINCI mission by NASA

The DAVINCI mission, short for – Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging, is planned to launch in 2029. NASA explained that the mission plans to deploy a spacecraft and a probe to Venus to examine the planet’s many unanswered mysteries. The spacecraft will fly by Venus twice before dropping its descent probe into the planet’s atmosphere, taking measurements of clouds and UV absorption on the planet’s day side and heat coming from the planet’s surface on the planet’s night side. The mission’s probe, known as the Descent Sphere, will enter Venus’ atmosphere two years after launch, absorbing and analysing atmospheric gases while capturing photos as it descends to the planet’s surface in the Alpha Regio region. Also Read: Why Uranus and Neptune colours are different: NASA’s Hubble Telescope has the answer

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Students’ built instrument to help NASA’s scientists in making great discoveries

The instrument that will be designed by the students, named VfOx will be mounted on top of the Descent Sphere. It will measure the partial pressure of the oxygen in the deep atmosphere beneath Venus’ clouds. This instrument will work just like the oxygen sensor in many automobile engines, which measures the amount of oxygen in the fuel system relative to other components of the fuel, NASA explained. For the first time, scientists will identify what minerals are most stable at the surface of Venus in the highlands using the data collected by VfOx. These studies will be further linked to the formation of rocks to the recent modification histories.

This will study the balance of how much oxygen is present in the atmosphere of the planet in comparison to the amount of oxygen captured in the rocks of Venus. This will help the scientists to understand the surface minerals in a mountainous region of Venus that has been unexplored by a spacecraft.





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