Home / Science / NASA looks at a "stingray-inspired spaceship" to explore the dark side of Venus

NASA looks at a "stingray-inspired spaceship" to explore the dark side of Venus



Venus is probably too hot to support life, with a toxic atmosphere and temperatures approaching 900 degrees, but that doesn't stop NASA from exploring it.

The space agency is working with the University of Buffalo CRASH Lab, which has created a design for "a morphic spaceship with wings that flick like a pectoral fins of a stingray," according to a statement from the university.

Known as the bio-inspired jet for extreme environments and Zonal Explorations (BREEZE), the design "was able to utilize high winds in the upper atmosphere of the planet effectively and at the same time give researchers unprecedented control over the vehicle," the university added in the statement.

  The spacecraft would bypass Venus every four to six days, with solar panels charging every two to three days on the planet's side illuminated by the sun. (Credit: CRASH Lab, University at Buffalo)

The spacecraft would orbit Venus every fourth to six days, with solar panels being recharged every two to three days on the planet's side illuminated by the sun. (Credit: CRASH Lab, University at Buffalo)

VENUS WAS LIKELY HABITABLE FOR 3B YEARS. IT'S SOME MYSTERIOUS HAPPENED.

The design is one of 12 concepts selected by NASA for its Innovative Advanced Concepts program (NIAC). Six other designs were previously chosen according to a statement from NASA in April.

It would travel around the planet every four to six days and use solar panels, powered by being on the side of Venus illuminated by the sun to power the instruments on board. These instruments include taking atmospheric samples, tracking weather patterns, monitoring volcanic activity and collecting other data.

"By taking our cues from nature, especially sea rays, we are looking to maximize flight efficiency," says the project's lead investigator, Javid Bayandor, in a statement. "The design will allow an unprecedented degree of control for such a spaceship that would be exposed to severe zone and meridional winds on the planet."

It has more volcanoes than any other celestial body in the solar system and has a surface temperature of 864 degrees Fahrenheit.

Venus is an oddity in the solar system in that the dark side of the planet has had periods of darkness, the university noted. It takes 243 days to rotate on its axis, as opposed to 225 days orbiting the sun, which effectively "makes a day longer than a year."

The Stingraylike wings, the internal voltage system, and other design techniques can be used for Bayandor, having investigated other parts of the solar system, including Saturn's moon, Titan, which could support life, as well as underwater locations on Earth.

WE CAN GO TO VENUS WITH TODAY'S TECHNOLOGY, SCIENCES SIER

A study published in September suggested that Venus may have been inhabited for several billion years – until something mysterious happened.

The research, presented at the European Planetary Science Congress – Division for Planetary Sciences Joint Meeting 2019, noted Venus could have had stable temperatures and contain "liquid water" for 2 to 3 billion years, until a "dramatic transformation" began to occur for more over 700 million years ago that completely reshaped the planet and relived about 80 percent of it.

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