Bengaluru: With a mission to Venus on its horizon, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has made an announcement of opportunity (AO) for space based experiments to study the planet.
The AO is addressed to all institutions in the country, and the last date for receiving the proposal is 19 May 2017, Bengaluru-headquartered Isro said.
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Those sending proposals may be currently involved in planetary exploration studies, or development of science instruments for space, or willing to develop the experiments, the space agency said in an announcement on its website.
Isro chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar had earlier said that mission to Venus is on the horizon and studies are underway. “Beyond that, Mars second mission and Venus mission are all on the horizon, we have to go through the various studies and then formulate, get the approval and move. Right now, they are all in the study phase," he had said.
Venus is often described as the “twin sister" of the Earth because of the similarities in size, mass, density, bulk composition and gravity. It is believed that both planets share a common origin, forming at the same time out of a condensing nebulosity around 4.5 billion years ago.
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Stating that exploration of Venus began in the early 1960s, Isro said the planet has been explored by flyby, orbiter, a few lander missions and atmospheric probes. It said in spite of great progress made in exploring Venus, there still exist gaps in our basic understanding about surface/sub-surface features and processes, super rotation of Venusian atmosphere and its evolution and interaction with solar radiation/solar wind.
The planet is around 30% closer to the sun as compared to Earth resulting in much higher solar flux. Pointing out that the payload capability of the proposed satellite is likely to be 175 kg with 500W of power, the space agency said these values are to be tuned based on the final configuration.
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The proposed orbit is expected to be around 500 x 60,000 km around Venus, and the orbit is likely to be reduced gradually, over several months to a lower apoapsis, it said.
Scripting space history, India on 24 September 2014, had successfully placed its low-cost Mars spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet on its very first attempt. Isro is expected to launch its second lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 during the first quarter of 2018.