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Venus mission: ISRO invites proposals for space experiments

Venus mission: ISRO invites proposals for space experiments
India has moved a step closer to its maiden mission to Venus with its space agency ISRO announcing that proposals have been sought for space-based experiments to study the planet.

The Announcement of Opportunity (AO) is for space experiments by institutions in the country, and the last date for receiving the proposals is May 19, 2017, the Bengaluru- headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

Those sending the proposals may be currently involved in planetary exploration studies, or development of science instruments for space, or willing to develop the experiments, the ISRO said in an announcement on its website.

Though no time-frame has been set by the ISRO for the ambitious mission, indications are that the Indian Venusian orbiter mission may not happen before 2020.

The maiden mission to Venus, the second planet of the Solar System named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, is in all probability going to be a modest orbiter mission.

ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar had earlier said that the mission to Venus is on the horizon and studies are underway.

"Beyond that, Mars second mission and Venus mission are all on the horizon, we have to go through the various studies and then formulate, get the approval and move. Right now, they are all in the study phase," he said while referring to the two new bold inter-planetary sojourns to Earth's immediate neighbours.

Venus is often described as the "twin sister" of the Earth because of the similarities in size, mass, density, bulk composition and gravity.

It is believed that both planets share a common origin, forming at the same time out of a condensing nebulosity around 4.5 billion years ago.

Stating that exploration of Venus began in the early 1960s, ISRO said the planet has been explored by flyby, orbiter, a few lander missions and atmospheric probes.

The ISRO said that in spite of great progress made in exploring Venus, there still exist gaps in our basic understanding about surface/sub-surface features and processes, super rotation of Venusian atmosphere and its evolution and interaction with solar radiation/solar wind.

The planet is around 30 per cent closer to the sun as compared to Earth resulting in much higher solar flux.
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