Europlanet Impact Case Study #4: Venus – An International Community’s Story
October 20, 2022

Europlanet Impact Case Study #4: Venus – An International Community’s Story

For around 30 years, Venus was neglected in terms of missions, with just two missions to our ‘twin’ planet compared to 22 attempted to Mars over the same time period.

In recent years, driven by the need to interpret data from exoplanet atmospheres, interest in Venus has grown. In 2021, three venusian missions were selected by international agencies (EnVision by the European Space Agency (ESA), and VERITAS and DaVinci by NASA).

A key factor for the missions has been the ability to study the surface of Venus through its opaque atmosphere.

ESA’s Venus Express, which launched in 2005, was designed as an atmospheric mission. However, a team led by DLR proposed that a small spectral window around one micrometre could be used to study the surface. This approach proved highly successful, but there was no spectral library available to interpret data.

A Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure (RI) Joint Research Activity, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, constructed a Venus Chamber at the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory (PSL), which provided experimental evidence that it is indeed possible to learn about the surface of Venus from orbit. The Venus Chamber at PSL is available for Transnational Access through the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) programme.

Interview with Jörn Helbert, DLR

In this interview, Jörn Helbert explains how funding from the Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure project supported the development of a new Venus Chamber at the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory (PSL) at DLR in Berlin.

Article in the Europlanet Magazine Issue 2

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