The American space agency, however, is not giving up and is asking the public to design a sensor to be mounted on a spacecraft. Called Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments (AREAS), the vehicle will use wind energy to carefully explore the surface of Venus. The sensor will be useful for crossing obstacles, such as rocks and steep terrain.
NASA has not yet formally approved the launch mission, but the agency hopes that the technology will be used one day on the surface of Venus, where a spacecraft has not set foot since 1985. The latest mission was the Vega 2 of the Soviet Union, which lasted very little time. “Earth and Venus are basically similar planets, although Venus at some point became inhospitable to life as we know it“, he claims Jonathan Sauder, principal AREA researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “By exploring the planet, we can understand what caused the divergence with Earth. ”
As is already expected, the sensor in question will have to withstand extreme temperatures and overwhelming pressures. A common problem, NASA says, is that cutting-edge electronics don’t work at just over 120 degrees Celsius. There are also prizes at stake: the first place will receive $ 15,000, the second 10,000 and the third 5,000. The presentation is scheduled for May 29, while the winners will be announced in July.