Venus Exploration Target

Venus Exploration Target Venus Exploration Target
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United States
Houston, Texas

Venus and Earth were formed under strikingly similar conditions:  similar size, similar composition, and comparable distances from the Sun. Yet the Venus that has been revealed through exploration missions to date is hellishly hot, devoid of oceans, lacking plate tectonics, and bathed in a thick, reactive atmosphere. A less Earth-like environment is hard to imagine. Why and when did Earth’s and Venus’ evolutionary paths diverge? The answer to this fundamental and unresolved question is central to understanding Venus in the context of terrestrial planets and their evolutionary processes, including Earth-sized planets around other stars. Additionally, Venus, more than any other planetary body, holds important clues to understanding our own planet — how it has maintained a habitable environment for so long and how long it can continue to do so. Given this potential and the current state of knowledge, there is compelling need for a vigorous new Venus exploration campaign.

The primary goal of this workshop is to identify and evaluate key locations, transects, and regions (on the surface or within the atmosphere) for future exploration of planet Venus. Appropriate candidate targets include those requiring landers, atmospheric probes, gliders, or balloons, and orbital missions. Topical breakout groups will evaluate proposed targets against planning documents — particularly VEXAG’s Goals, Objectives, and Investigations for Venus Exploration 2013 — as well as the baseline instrument and mission characteristics (e.g., sensitivities, precisions, resolutions, operational duration, risk management strategies) required by the science. The list of targets vetted by workshop participants will be compiled and published shortly after the workshop.

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