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Why is Venus not like Earth?  A new space mission aims to discover it

Why is Venus not like Earth? A new space mission aims to discover it

(CNN) — A satellite designed to study Venus from top to bottom and three spacecraft navigating by gravitational waves are the latest missions adopted by the European Space Agency.

The agency had selected missions before, however A formal accreditation process means that contractors will be selected Until construction begins to bring the mission designs to life.

ESA will collaborate with NASA on both missions, which will launch from the European Spaceport in French Guiana in the 2030s.

“These pioneering missions will take us to the next level in two very exciting areas of space science, and will keep European researchers at the forefront of these fields,” Carol Mundell, ESA's science director, said in a statement.

A new journey to Venus

he Envision Venus Explorer He will study this planet in unprecedented detail, from its inner core to the top of its atmosphere, to help astronomers understand why this hot, toxic world did not turn out to be Earth-like. Venus is similar in size and distance from the sun to Earth, and some researchers believe the planet may have had a climate similar to Earth's at one time.

But Twin Earth is now an inhospitable world, with surface temperatures capable of melting lead and extreme crushing pressure from runaway global warming.

An artist's image shows EnVision after the spacecraft reaches orbit around Venus.

An artist's image shows EnVision after the spacecraft reaches orbit around Venus. ESA/VR2Planets/Damia Buick

Scientists hope the mission will answer key questions about Venus, including how the world evolved over time, whether it ever had oceans, how geologically active it was, and why its runaway greenhouse effect began.

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it is expected that EnVision will launch in 2031 It will be the first mission to collect data on how Venus' atmosphere, surface and interior interact. The mission relies on the first European Space Agency spacecraft sent to map the planet's atmosphere, the Venus Express spacecraft, which orbited Venus from 2005 to 2014.

After a 15-month journey to Venus, EnVision will spend an additional 15 months orbiting the planet and flying through its atmosphere.

The satellite will have two deployable solar panels and carry a suite of instruments that can monitor Venus' surface and atmosphere, as well as explore the planet's dense, dark clouds using radar and radio wavelengths.

It is one of several missions in development to study Venus, including expeditions Da Vinci And Truth, honesty From NASA, which will be launched in the next decade.

Uncover the history of the universe

When massive celestial bodies, such as black holes, collide, they send out waves called gravitational waves that spread throughout the universe and reveal information about its history.

These waves have been observed by ground-based observatories, but the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or LISA, will be the first space observatory to study this cosmic phenomenon. Ground-based observatories are limited in what they can detect based on size and sensitivity, so they can only pick up high-frequency gravitational waves.

But the space observatory could be much larger, and LISA would be able to detect waves ranging from small to giant, as well as low-frequency waves emanating from supermassive black holes merging into the centers of massive galaxies.

The illustration shows the laser triangle configuration for the LISA mission, which uses three spacecraft to detect gravitational waves, which were imaged coming from two black holes.

The illustration shows the laser triangle configuration for the LISA mission, which uses three spacecraft to detect gravitational waves, which were imaged coming from two black holes. Which

The LISA mission involves three spacecraft that will fly 2.5 million kilometers (about 1.6 million miles) in a triangular formation. Floating golden cubes inside each spacecraft will be used to detect gravitational waves.

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The mission was born out of the success of the LISA Pathfinder, which was launched by the European Space Agency in 2015 to demonstrate the technology on which the LISA mission will rely to search for cosmic waves in the universe.

Golden cubes inside each spacecraft will help the LISA mission detect gravitational waves.

Golden cubes inside each spacecraft will help the LISA mission detect gravitational waves. Which

The new mission will search for evidence of black hole mergers throughout the universe, study the formation of thousands of pairs of stars called binary systems, look inside dense star clusters within galaxies and try to measure the speed at which a black hole is expanding in the universe. LISA will be used to study the history of the universe by determining the locations of the first black holes that formed after the Big Bang.

Together, the three spacecraft will fly past Earth as they orbit the Sun, about 50 million kilometers from our planet. The agency expects the mission to last four years, with the possibility of extending it.