With astronomers detecting a potential signature of life in the clouds of Venus, there’s obviously going to be a big push to get some new space missions to the planet.
The private Rocket Lab company’s CEO, Peter Beck, is fascinated by Venus and has already announced his intention to send a mission there in 2023. He’s funding and constructing it in-house.
Rocket Lab will do it with the Photon “kick-stage” that goes on the top of an Electron.
In Earth orbit, this stage does the final placement of small satellites in the part of the sky they want to operate. But the Photon is extremely capable and could shepherd a probe to another planet, and even carry some sensors of its own.
Beck’s plan is to drop off an atmospheric entry probe at Venus. As this falls through the “air”, it would radio back its observations of Venusian clouds to the Photon, which in turn would relay that data back to Earth.
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