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Satnews Daily
July 20th, 2015

A Venus Venue For India + The United States?

[SatNews] Venus, Mars, and an asteroid could all be the next big destinations that India will be exploring.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is now embarking on a new planet-hunting endeavor. There are indications that the United States will be working with India in this ‘deep space exploration.’ As per ISRO’s own plans, in the next few years another robust mission to planet Mars is being planned by Isro. A possible fly-by to an asteroid is likely. A small satellite aptly called ‘Aditya’ will keep a constant eye on the ever-changing moods of the Sun.

The ISRO's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

Speaking to students of Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai Richard Verma, The U.S. Ambassador to India, sprung a surprise by saying, “We look forward to path-breaking work between NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] and ISRO on deep space exploration to Mars and beyond”.

Until 2005, ISRO was a total pariah, kept under full technology denial, and sanctions were in full force—but a decade later, the chill has gone and relations have thawed, now hand in hand both want to fly ‘where no man has gone before.’ If Pluto was the target for the American space agency through its mission ‘New Horizons,’ the Indian space agency is also setting its goals to explore the Solar System to its limits. On ISRO’s wish list ‘a technology demonstration mission or a fly-by to the outer solar system.’

The current ISRO chief, Kiran Kumary, who played a key role in the success of Mangalyaan, said, “for the next planetary mission, we are looking at opportunities whether it is a repeat Mars mission, or Venus mission or even an asteroid mission."

Exploring Venus could be the next logical step as India has already been to Mars, Earth’s neighbor and, if all goes well, in a few years, an Indian rocket will lift off and head towards the inside of the Solar System.

So far, only Russia, America, and the European Space Agency (ESA) have successfully reached Venus. In 2010, Japan tried, but failed. Can India make global history once again by becoming the first Asian country to reach Venus? Repeating a moment in history, India’s Mangalyaan—in its maiden attempt—reached the Red Planet, a feat not achieved by any other country.

Venus is considered a twin of Earth and yet very little is understood about this planet. It is almost the same size that of Earth but it has a hugely dense atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide and being closer to the Sun it has an average temperature of about 460 degrees Celsius. U R Rao, former chairperson of ISRO and head of the committee that decides on scientific missions has long expressed a desire that India should ideally soon head to Venus. It is believed by experts that Venus in a way resembles what could be the ultimate fate of Earth if runaway release of carbon dioxide goes on unabated and the climate continues to change with carbon dioxide being amassed in the atmosphere. Kumar says there are many things to be learned at Venus like trying to figure out ‘why does the atmosphere of Venus rotate in the opposite direction,’

Some of these future planetary mission would need bigger rockets and, towards that, Kumar said India’s indigenous Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-II (GSLV Mk-II) is probably going to be the preferred vehicle as it has ‘superior capabilities.’ The almost 50 meter tall rocket that weighs as much as 414 ton is capable of hoisting a 2500 kilogram satellite on interplanetary voyages.

Story is courtesy of Gulf News India.