- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has taken its first step towards its mid-2023-planned mission to Venus by issuing an announcement of opportunity (AO) to the international space community to propose their scientific payloads to be carried on the mission.
- This AO for space-based experiments to study Venus is open to international scientists from various space agencies, research laboratories, academic institutions and universities.
- This AO has a specific objective to identify important science experiments that complements overall science from the suite of pre-selected proposals from India on ISRO’s Venus mission.
- The payload capacity of the proposed satellite to be launched by ISRO is likely to be about 100 kg with 500W of power.
- It plans to study the planet from an elliptical orbit that is closest to Venus at 500 km and 60,000 km at the farthest end which is likely to be reduced gradually, over several months to a lessen the satellite’s farthest point from Venus while in an elliptical orbit, depending on the final spacecraft configuration.
- Proposers are expected to be currently involved in planetary exploration studies, the development of science instruments for space, and willing to develop space-worthy experiments, besides having access to associated facilities for test and instrument calibration.
- ISRO has identified broad research interests in Venus, which include the following:
- Researching the planet’s surface/subsurface features and re-surfacing processes.
- Its atmospheric chemistry, dynamics and composition variations.
- Interaction with solar radiation/solar wind.
- According to ISRO, the Venus mission would be comparable to the phenomenally popular Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) in terms of its the orbit and the cost.
- Currently being handled by the Space Science Programme Office, the entire project must be vetted by the Advisory Committee on Space Sciences and approved by the Space Commission and eventually the government.
- From the Moon orbiter mission Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and the ₹450 crore MOM, the Venus voyage if approved would be ISRO’s third interplanetary dash.