India's Venus Mission already appears to be in motion (Representational)
Just over a month after India created history with the Chandrayaan 3 soft landing on the south pole region of the Moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has set its eyes on Venus now.
Unofficially referred to as Shukrayaan-1, the Venus mission has been configured and some payloads are under development, ISRO Chairman S Somanath said on Tuesday.
With that statement, Mr Somnath underlined India's space aspirations after Chandrayaan 3's soft-landing and successful launch of Aditya L-1, the country's mission to the Sun.
In his address at the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Mr Somanath said that ISRO was planning a mission to study Venus, two satellites to analyse space climate and its impact on the earth, and a project to land a spacecraft on Mars.
"Venus is a very interesting planet. It also has an atmosphere, which is so thick that you cannot penetrate the surface. We don't know if the surface is hard or not," he said.
Let's take a deep dive into what this mission may be all about:
1) Shukrayaan-1, the unofficial name is an amalgamation of two words - 'Shukra', which means Venus and 'Yaana', meaning craft, in Sanskrit.
2) According to a Hindu report, the idea of a Venus mission was born in 2012. In 2017, India's premier space research body started preliminary studies after a 23% hike in the 2017-2018 budget for the Department of Space. The same year, ISRO sought payload proposals from research institutes.
3) The aim of the mission will be to assess the surface and atmosphere of "Earth's twin", and analyse geological composition, which - according to a NASA research paper - is thick and filled with toxic clouds, the report added. The Shukrayaan 1 may also help us understand the link between solar radiation and surface particles on Venus.
4) India's Venus mission will help scientists as well as the space community take a sneak peek into the future of the planet as Earth was also not habitable billions of years ago.
5) Meanwhile, NASA said that it's almost unlikely to imagine life on Venus as of this moment. However, some scientists do not discount the possibility of the existence of microbes high in the clouds where the planet is cooler and the pressure is also similar to Earth's surface. The scientists have also observed phosphine, an indicator of potential microbial life, in the clouds there.
While India's Venus Mission already appears to be in motion, the launch date and other important details related to the project are yet to be released by ISRO.