French also to contribute instrument to India’s 2025 mission to Venus
PARIS (CNES PR) — On Wednesday September 30, Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES, met with his Indian counterpart, Dr. K Sivan, President of ISRO. During this virtual session, all the subjects central to cooperation between the two countries were discussed.
In August 2019, CNES and ISRO embarked on the development and manufacture of a constellation of satellites. This, carrying telecommunications (AIS automatic identification) and observation (radar and optical) instruments, will constitute the first space system in the world allowing continuous surveillance of maritime traffic.
SAN FRANCISCO (Breakthrough Initiatives PR) – Breakthrough Initiatives, the privately-funded space science programs founded by science and technology investor and philanthropist Yuri Milner, are funding a research study into the possibility of primitive life in the clouds of Venus. The study is inspired by the discovery, announced yesterday, of the gas phosphine, considered a potential biosignature, in the planet’s atmosphere.
CARDIFF, Wales (Cardiff University PR) — An international team of astronomers, led by Professor Jane Greaves of Cardiff University, today announced the discovery of a rare molecule – phosphine – in the clouds of Venus. On Earth, this gas is only made industrially, or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments.
Astronomers have speculated for decades that high clouds on Venus could offer a home for microbes – floating free of the scorching surface, but still needing to tolerate very high acidity. The detection of phosphine molecules, which consist of hydrogen and phosphorus, could point to this extra-terrestrial ‘aerial’ life. The new discovery is described in a paper in Nature Astronomy.
New 3D model provides evidence that Venus is churning inside
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (University of Maryland PR) — A new study identified 37 recently active volcanic structures on Venus. The study provides some of the best evidence yet that Venus is still a geologically active planet. A research paper on the work, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland and the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on July 20, 2020.
Pioneer Astronautics will begin development of a magnetic sail to de-orbit satellites, a magnetic system to improve rocket engine performance in low gravity, and a gas replacement system that would allow balloons to explore other planets with the assistance of NASA funding.
The space agency selected the projects for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The awards are worth up to $125,000 for as much as six months.
With surface temperatures exceeding 470 degrees C (880 F), Venus has always been a difficult place to explore. The Soviet Union’s most successful lander, Venera 13, survived for only 127 minutes before succumbing to the heat.
Conditions in Venus’ atmosphere are more temperate. Venus’ atmospheric pressure and temperature at an altitude of 65 km (40.4 miles) are similar to those on Earth.
by Lonnie Shekhtman NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Md. (NASA PR) — Several years ago, planetary scientist Lynnae Quick began to wonder whether any of the more than 4,000 known exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system, might resemble some of the watery moons around Jupiter and Saturn.
Though some of these moons don’t have atmospheres and are covered in ice, they are still among the top targets in NASA’s search for life beyond Earth. Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa, which scientists classify as “ocean worlds,” are good examples.
India plans to open up its state-run space sector to private companies. The Times of India reports:
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced the entry of the private sector in the country’s future inter-planetary and outer space explorations and allowed private companies to access the facilities and services of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).
Whil announcing structural reforms for the eight crucial sectors, the FM said, “India has the benefit of an extraordinary space institution such as Isro, which brought the nation a lot of laurels. However, today the private sector is also doing a lot of work in the space arena. A lot of individuals and startups have spent a lot of time developing space-related technologies. Unfortunately, because of Indian regulations, they are unable to use Isro facilities for even testing their products. To provide a level-playing field in satellite launches and space-based services, we will make a provision for the private sector to benefit from the assets which are available to Isro and for India (in general) to benefit from it.”
Sithharaman said, “We will also provide a predictable policy and regulatory environment for private players. We want them to be co-travellers with us. Therefore, the private sector is being encouraged.
In another big development, the FM announced that “future projects like planetary explorations and outer spce travel (like future Chandrayaan, Venus and Aditya missions) will be opened for the private sector. So, the private sector is being given a good access to the so arena so the industry and Isro can work together for a better ‘Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) Bharat’.”
The government is also working on a new policy for geospatial data to encourage private-sector companies.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (SETI Institute PR) — In a new paper published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, co-authored by SETI Institute scientist Jeff Coughlin, astronomers using Kepler data have identified a planet nearly the same size of Earth that orbits in its star’s habitable zone, where liquid water could exist on its surface.
This new world, Kepler-1649c, is 300 light-years away and orbits a star that is about one-fourth the size of our Sun. Only 6% bigger than the Earth, it shares its sun with a planet much like Venus, Kepler-1649b, which was discovered three years ago. Although NASA’s Kepler space telescope was retired in 2018 when it ran out of fuel, scientists are still making discoveries as they continue to examine the signals Kepler detected.
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I Award Amount: $125,000
Heat Exchange-Driven Aircraft for Low Altitude and Surface Exploration of Venus
Eldar Noe Dobrea Planetary Science Institute
We propose to investigate a fixed wing aircraft platform concept capable of flying over multiple sites in close proximity to the surface of Venus in a cyclic manner. Central to this investigation is the development of a system capable of using the heat from the Venusian atmosphere to power a heat engine capable of supplying propulsion and power to the aircraft.
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase II Award Amount: $500,000
Lightweight Multifunctional Planetary Probe for Extreme Environment Exploration and Locomotion
Javid Bayandor State University Of New York, Buffalo
With many characteristics similar to Earth, Venus has long been considered of high scientific interest to NASA. The Venus surface temperatures near 460°C and pressures of 93 bar have made long duration surface missions infeasible.
PARIS (ESA PR) — The ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission completed its first flyby on 10 April, as the spacecraft came less than 12 700 km from Earth’s surface at 06:25 CEST, steering its trajectory towards the final destination, Mercury. Images gathered just before closest approach portray our planet shining through darkness, during one of humankind’s most challenging times in recent history.
March 5, 2020, Seattle, Washington (Xplore PR) – Xplore Inc., a commercial space company providing Space As A ServiceTM today announced they are integrating the Orbit Fab RAFTI into the XcraftTM, Xplore’s highly-capable, multi-mission ESPA-class spacecraft.
The RAFTI, which stands for Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface, allows for reliable propellant transfers in the harshest space environments. It is ideal for mission destinations in any orbit, and thus aligns with Xplore’s ability to fly missions at destinations from Earth to the Moon, Mars, Venus, LaGrange points, Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and other locations in our inner solar system, more than 320 million km (200 million miles) from Earth.