India seems to have strengthened its Venus mission by one notch after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) invited proposals from scientists across the country for space-based experiments.
According to ISRO, their mission is to carry 175 kg of scientific payload that would consume around 500W of power. This is 11 times more than the scientific payload carried by the Mars Orbitter Mission (MOM), which had carried a payload that weighed 15 kg. The orbit will be 500 X 60,000km around Venus, which will gradually reduce over several months.
The focus of the mission will be atmospheric and surface studies, biology experiments and technology demonstration. According to Times of India, an ISRO official has said that though it is an approved mission, the date of the launch has not yet been decided. The Indian mission to Venus has been listed as part of the department of space's request for grants.
ISRO further added that this mission is important because Venus is described as the twin sister of earth, and is similar in size, mass, density, bulk composition and gravity. "It is believed that both planets were formed at the same time around 4.5 billion years ago," Isro stated.
Though the exploration of Venus had begun in the early 1960s with fly by and lander missions and atmospheric probes, this mission aims to achieve more.
"In spite of great progress made in exploring Venus, there still exist gaps in our understanding of the surface, sub-surface features and processes, and super rotation of the Venusian atmosphere, its evolution and interaction with solar wind," Isro has stated.