Mission Type: Aerial
Total Cost: $3-4 Billion Cap
Venus Exploration analysis Group (VEXAG) http://www.lpi.usra.edu/vexag/
Venus Exploration Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities: 2007
Report of the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG) October 2007
The primary goals of the Venus Mobile Explorer (VME) mission are to answer fundamental questions pertaining to Venus's geologic past, present and future, as defined in the Venus Exploration Analysis Group's (VEXAG) goals for the exploration of Venus in the coming decades.
The Venus Mobile Explorer Mission (VME) is a Flagship class mission that would focus on searching for evidence of past climate change both on the surface and in the atmospheric composition as well as in the interior dynamics of the planet. In order to achieve these goals and objectives, many key technologies need to be developed for the Venus extreme environment. The long lived in-situ mission would provide aerial mobility close to the surface (approximately 10 kilometers above the surface) using metallic bellows to tolerate the extreme environment of Venus, where the temperature reaches 460°C, and the pressure is up to 90 bars, and the super critical carbon dioxide atmosphere is highly corrosive.
At the surface, VME would perform extensive measurements, including a search for granitic and sedimentary rocks, analysis of the crust and measurements of the oxidation and mineralogical state of iron. These experiments would enable the determination of how long ago an ocean disappeared from Venus and, therefore, how long Venus may have had for potentially nurturing life. VME could expand our understanding of the interconnected cycles of chemistry, volcanism, and climate on Venus, crucial for interpreting the spectral signatures and other data we would obtain eventually from terrestrial planets around other stars.