Deimos-One to build robotic spacecraft for Venus Mission
Deimos-One, the private aerospace and space travel company, today announced its plans to develop a robotic spacecraft for a scientific mission to Venus.
The proposed mission, named 'CAELESTIS,' will send an AI-powered swarm of robotic probes to study Venus’ dense atmosphere, topography, and geologic processes – and look for signs of life.
The company aims to discover how Venus – which may have been the first potentially habitable planet in our solar system – transformed from a temperate world with rivers, lakes, and oceans, into a dry hellscape planet with crushing atmospheric pressures and temperatures hot enough to melt lead. It will make one of the first returns to Earth’s sister planet in more than thirty years.
Deimos-One co-founder and CEO, Jamin Thompson, said: “We believe habitable pockets may have existed in Venus’ atmosphere for millions, perhaps even billions of years; and that they may still even exist today. To find out for sure, we’re going to go have a look around and see if there may be anything interesting hiding in the Venusian atmospheric zone, and I’m excited to see what we can find. There’s no guarantee we'll find anything, but regardless of the scientific returns, this mission will be a game-changer that shows the world it’s possible to do major space missions privately now.”
Unlike previous missions to the planet, which have relied on orbit insertion, the CAELESTIS probes will make direct atmospheric entry. The mission sequence will consist of an Earth launch and escape, Venus arrival, direct atmospheric entry and descent, balloon deployment, balloon failure, and a surface landing.
Upon balloon deployment, the probes will begin to survey and measure the composition of Venus’ atmosphere, collect samples, and capture high-resolution photographs while hovering at roughly 55km above the planet’s surface. The probes will continue balloon-assisted hover operations until the onset of balloon failure, where they will continue their descent and make surface landing for continued operations.
The mission will leverage a unique, multi-dimensional viewpoint of the Venusian environment to study the poorly understood meteorology of the middle cloud region and search for macroscopic life signatures within the atmospheric habitable zone.
“In the past, planetary exploration missions like these used to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and would take ten years to launch. The CAELESTIS mission will demonstrate a more cost-effective, efficient, faster development model that will be one of the first of its kind to deliver big science in a small package. We believe this approach will increase the science community’s access to the solar system and allow us to learn a lot more, much faster,” stated Thompson.
The spacecraft are planned for launch in 2023, ridesharing aboard a commercial launch vehicle.