After Sun & Moon operations, Isro ready to launch Venus, XPoSat missions – Times of India

NEW DELHI: After the Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya-L1 missions, Isro is making preparations in full gear for the Venus mission or ‘Shukrayaan’, which is likely to be launched in December next year. Before the Venus mission, the space agency is gearing up to launch XPoSat or the X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite, meant to study bright X-ray pulsars or stars that are in the process of death, in December this year itself.
Isro chief S Somanath recently said that the mission to Venus, the brightest planet in the solar system, is already configured and its payloads (scientific instruments) have been developed for the mission.The December 2024 window is being targeted for its launch with orbital manoeuvres planned for the following year when the Earth and Venus would be so aligned that the spacecraft could be put in the neighboring planet’s orbit using a minimum amount of propellant. The next similar window will be available in 2031 only.

Addressing the Indian National Science Academy in Delhi recently, the Isro chief said, “Venus is a very interesting planet. It also has an atmosphere which 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 one day be Venus. I don’t know. Maybe 10,000 years later we (Earth) will change our characteristics. Earth was never like this. It was not a habitable place long long back,” he explained.

Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is Earth’s closest planetary neighbour. It’s one of the four inner, terrestrial (or rocky) planets, and it’s often called Earth’s twin because it’s similar in size and density. Venus missions launched earlier by other countries included European Space Agency’s Venus Express (orbited from 2006 to 2016) and Japan’s Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter (orbiting since 2016) and Nasa’s Parker Solar Probe, which has made multiple flybys of Venus.
On X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite, Somanath said, “We are also conceiving a satellite called ExoWorlds, a mission for looking at exo-solar planets or planets that are outside our solar system and orbiting other stars.” He said there were over 5,000 known exo-planets of which at least 100 were considered to have atmospheres.
The mission will study the atmosphere of exo-planets and whether they are livable or they host life. The Isro chief also informed that the plans for a Mars Lander Mission too are at a conceptual stage.

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