The Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), S. Somnath, recently revealed significant progress in India’s space exploration efforts, particularly concerning a mission to Venus. Speaking at the Indian National Science Academy in Delhi, he disclosed that the mission to Venus has moved beyond the conceptual stage and that crucial payloads have already been developed. This announcement comes on the heels of India’s successful Chandrayaan-3 moon mission launch in August of this year.
During his address, Somnath emphasized the importance of studying Venus, which he described as an intriguing planet that could provide answers to numerous questions in the field of space science.
“Venus is a very interesting planet. It also has an atmosphere. Its atmosphere is so thick. The atmospheric pressure is 100 times that of Earth and it is full of acids. You cannot penetrate the surface. You don’t know if its surface is hard or not. Why are we trying to understand all of this? Earth could be one day Venus. I don’t know. Maybe 10,000 years later we (Earth) change our characteristics. Earth was never like this. It was not a habitable place long long back,” Somnath remarked.
Venus, as the second planet from the Sun, is Earth’s closest neighbor in the solar system. It is often referred to as Earth’s twin due to its similar size and density.
Notably, other space agencies have also undertaken missions to Venus. In 2016, the European Space Agency (ESA) completed the Venus Express mission, which orbited the planet from 2006 to 2016. Japan’s Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter has been in orbit around Venus since 2016. NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, has conducted multiple flyby and exploration missions to Venus. In 2022, NASA announced that its spacecraft had captured the first visible light images of Venus during a 2021 flyby mission. NASA has plans for future Venus missions in 2029, 2030, and 2031.
ISRO’s recent achievements also include the launch of the Aditya L1 spacecraft, India’s first space-based mission dedicated to studying the Sun. This mission, which embarked on its journey on September 2 of this year, follows the successful Chandrayaan-3 mission. The Aditya L1 spacecraft will observe the Sun from a halo orbit around the first Sun-Earth Lagrangian point (L1), situated approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.