NASA has decided to get busy on Venus by sending out a rover to see if they will be able to maintain and land it successfully. Venus is Earth’s twin, as it is comparative in size, and makeup, but it’s also extremely hot, so this is kind of a big deal.
NASA has called Venus’ environment, “the most hostile in the solar system, with a surface temperature hotter than an oven, and a high-pressure, corrosive atmosphere.”
Currently NASA is funding the research to see what it will take to land a landsailing rover. The sailboat is currently being called the “Zephyr.” Although NASA has landed a rover on Mars before, this proves to be a little different. Zephyr is said to use the wind force to produce power, which is what a sailboat does with wind current.
Venus’ wind current is about 2 miles per hour, and if it works, it will prove to be enough of a force to sail it on over to Venus.
Geoffry Landis, who’s from NASA’s Glenn Research Center said in a statement earlier in the year:
“A sail rover would be extraordinary for Venus. The sail has only two moving parts — just to set the sail and set the steering position — and that doesn’t require a lot of power. There’s no power required to actually drive.”
As opposed to a regular sailboat, this one is believed to be on wheels, four wheels to be exact. Check out sketches of Landis’ mockup of the rover below:
As of right now NASA isn’t ready yet to launch the rover. It’s said that the team needs a 10 year prep in order to launch, and even that’s not certain, but the prospect is exciting news. For NASA they consider this news an “exceptional public engagement factor” as far as planet interaction is considered.
Are you excited to hear more about NASA’s plans?
[Image credit: CVADRAT / Shutterstock]