For the Lastest News Sign up mobilsocial


The Search for Life on Venus Could Start With Rocket Lab

Venus

The Search for Life on Venus Could Start With Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab may be able to send a small spacecraft to probe the clouds of Venus long before NASA or other space agencies are able to do so.

The Search for Life on Venus Could Start With Rocket Lab – The New York Times

SectionsSEARCH|The Search for Life on Venus Could Start With This Private Companyhttps://nyti.ms/35Lw97Q

Supported by

The Search for Life on Venus Could Start With This Private Company

Rocket Lab may be able to send a small spacecraft to probe the clouds of Venus long before NASA or other space agencies are able to do so.

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket on its Launch Complex 1, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.Credit…Kieran Fanning/Rocket Lab

By Jonathan O’Callaghan

Sept. 15, 2020

Elon Musk wants to with his rocket company SpaceX. Amazon’s founder, . But the chief executive of one private space company is approaching space exploration differently, and now aims to play a part in the search for life on Venus.

On Monday, scientists announced the of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. This chemical could have been produced by a biological source, but scientists won’t know for sure without sending a spacecraft to the planet.

As luck would have it, Rocket Lab, the private small rocket company founded in New Zealand, has been working on such a mission. The company has developed a small satellite, called Photon, that it plans to launch on its own Electron rocket as soon as 2023.

“This mission is to go and see if we can find life,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s founder and chief executive. “Obviously, this discovery of phosphine really adds strength to that possibility. So I think we need to go and have a look there.”

to space, putting small satellites into orbit for private companies, NASA and the U.S. military. It also has a mission to the moon in the works , called CAPSTONE, scheduled to launch in early 2021.

The company began looking into the possibility of a mission to Venus last year, before it knew about the phosphine discovery. Although its Electron rocket is much smaller than the ones used by SpaceX and other competitors, it could send a space probe to Venus.

The company’s plan is to develop the mission in-house and mostly self-fund it, at a cost in the tens of millions of dollars. It is seeking other partners to defray the cost. The Photon spacecraft, a small, 660-pound satellite that had , would launch when Earth and Venus align for the shortest journey, and arrive there in several months.

, which is funded by . Over the next six months, her team will study in the near future to look for life.

Rocket Lab’s modest mission is limited in what it can achieve. The probe will not survive long and it will likely not have a camera, meaning its scientific return will be brief even if meaningful.

NASA is considering a pair of , one called DAVINCI+, the other VERITAS, and each would have many more capabilities.

“When you spend 100 times more on a payload, then you will get more science out of it,” said Colin Wilson of the University of Oxford, who is part of that aims to launch in 2032.

Advertisement

Site IndexSite Information Navigation

Join mobilsocial social network mobilsocial This article source is The New York Times Article is The Search for Life on Venus Could Start With Rocket Lab



USA latest News | Canada latest News | Australia latest News




Social Network

accident attorney miami