INA - SOURCES
NASA scientists and engineers gave new details about the agency's Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging (DAVINCI) mission, which will descend through the layered Venus atmosphere to the surface of the planet in mid-2031.
DAVINCI is the first mission to study Venus using both spacecraft flybys and a descent probe.
A flying analytical chemistry laboratory, will measure critical aspects of Venus's massive atmosphere-climate system for the first time, many of which have been measurement goals for Venus since the early 1980s.
It will also provide the first descent imaging of the mountainous highlands of Venus while mapping their rock composition and surface relief at scales not possible from orbit. The mission supports measurements of undiscovered gases present in small amounts and the deepest atmosphere, including the key ratio of hydrogen isotopes—components of water that help reveal the history of water, either as liquid water oceans or steam within the early atmosphere.
The mission's carrier, relay and imaging spacecraft (CRIS) has two onboard instruments that will study the planet's clouds and map its highland areas during flybys of Venus and will also drop a small descent probe with five instruments that will provide a medley of new measurements at very high precision during its descent to the hellish Venus surface.
"This ensemble of chemistry, environmental, and descent imaging data will paint a picture of the layered Venus atmosphere and how it interacts with the surface in the mountains of Alpha Regio, which is twice the size of Texas," said Jim Garvin, lead author of the paper in the Planetary Science Journal and DAVINCI principal investigator from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "These measurements will allow us to evaluate historical aspects of the atmosphere as well as detect special rock types at the surface such as granites while also looking for tell-tale landscape features that could tell us about erosion or other formational processes."