National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Led Program to Develop a Conceptual Venus Mission Design

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As part of the Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC) program, NASA Glenn Research Center led a program to develop a conceptual design for a robotic mission to explore the surface and atmosphere of Venus. The project was a collaboration between NASA Glenn, Langley, Johnson, and Ames, led by Principal investigator Geoffrey A. Landis of NASA Glenn.

Description

The Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC) activity is funded by the Office of Aerospace Technology to study alternate approaches to achieving NASA missions thatmay occur beyond traditional planning horizons. In support of these alternate approaches, RASC identifies the benefits of advanced technology application and documents any other necessary enabling capabilities in support of the advanced mission concepts and architectures.

The focus of this activity is for missions that would occur between 2015 and 2030. RASC studies leverage expertise across NASA to ensure a broad systems perspective to assess impacts of innovative ideas and advanced technologies.

Video and Photos

RASC Venus Robotic Exploration Concept

Objective: Develop concept for science-driven, technology enabled exploration of Venus surface and atmosphere.

RASC Venus Robotic Exploration Concept

RASC Venus Robotic Exploration Concept. Top: Communications relay; Middle: robot “brains” in aerostat or airplane; Bottom: Surface exploration robots controlled by remote computer.

Venus Surface Exploration: Advanced Technology

Venus Solar Airplane

Venus Solar Airplane

Venus Surface Exploration Robot

Venus Surface Exploration Robot

High temperature

  • RF communications
  • sensors (developed for jet engine diagnostics)
  • electronic controls
  • motors
  • magnetic bearings
  • high-temperature dry lubrication of mechanical parts
  • Dynamic isotope power system

Venus surface temperature: 452C

Venus Surface Robot Technologies

High temperature electronics development at NASA Glenn Research Center.

Additional Information: RASC website at Space Propulsion and Mission Analysis office

Venus-mission Publications

Journal Papers

  • G. Landis and K. Mellott, “Venus Surface Power and Cooling System Design,” Acta Astronautica, Vol 61, No. 11-12, 995-1001 (Dec. 2007). Presented as paper IAC-04-R.2.06, 55th International Astronautical Federation Congress, Vancouver BC, Oct. 4-8 2004.
  • G. Landis, “Robotic Exploration of the Surface and Atmosphere of Venus,” Acta Astronautica, Vol. 59, 7, 517-580 (October 2006). Presented as paper IAC-04-Q.2.A.08, 55th International Astronautical Federation Congress, Vancouver BC, Oct. 4-8 2004.
  • G. Landis, C. Lamarre, and A. Colozza, “Venus Atmospheric Exploration by Solar Aircraft,” Acta Astronautica, Vol. 56, No. 8, April 2005, 750-755. Paper IAC-02-Q.4.2.03, 53rd International Astronautical Congress, Houston TX, 2002.
  • G. Landis, “Venus: the Case for Astrobiology,” Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Vol. 56, No. 7/8, 250-254 (2003).
  • P. G. Neudeck, R. S. Okojie, and L.-Y. Chen, “High Temperature Electronics– A Role For Wide Bandgap Semi-conductors?”, Proc. of the IEEE, Vol. 90, No. 6, June 2002, p. 1065-1076.

Conference Papers

  • K. D. Mellott, “Power Conversion with a Stirling Cycle for Venus Surface Mission,” paper AIAA-2004-5633, presented at the 2nd International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, August 16-19 2004, Providence, RI.
  • K. D. Mellott, “Electronics and Sensor Cooling with a Stirling Cycle for Venus Surface Mission”, paper AIAA-2004-5610, presented at the 2nd International Energy Conversion Engineering Conf., August 16-19 2004, Providence, RI.
  • D. Force, “Communications Transceivers for Venus Surface Missions,” paper AIAA-2004-5944, presented at Space 2004 Conference and Exhibit, Sep. 28-30, 2004, San Diego, CA.
  • Melissa L. McGuire,. Stanley K. Borowski, and Thomas W. Packard, “Nuclear Electric Propulsion Application RASC Mission Robotic Exploration of Venus,” AIAA Paper 2004-3981, 40th Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, July 11-14, 2004, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
  • M. J. Ferebee, Jr., R. A. Breckenridge and J. B. Hall, Jr., “Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Planning for the Future of Technology Investments,” paper IAC-02-IAA.U.1.04, presented at the 53rd International Astronautical Congress/2002 World Space Congress, Oct. 10-19, 2002, Houston, TX.

NASA Tech Briefs and Technical Memoranda

  • A. Colozza and G. Landis, “Evaluation of Long-Duration Flight on Venus,” paper AIAA-2004-5558, NASA Technical Memorandum TM-2006-214452 (2006).
  • Melissa L. McGuire,. Stanley K. Borowski, and Thomas W. Packard, “Nuclear Electric Propulsion Application RASC Mission Robotic Exploration of Venus,” AIAA Paper 2004-3981,  NASA Technical Memorandum TM-2004-213225 (2004).
  • G. Landis and A. Colozza, “Solar Airplane for Venus, ” Research and Technology 2003, NASA TM 2004-212729, 47-48 (2004).
  • G. Landis and K. Mellot, “Stirling Cooler for Venus Exploration, ” Research and Technology 2003, NASA Technical Memorandum TM 2004-212729, 49-50 (2004).
    G. Landis, “Astrobiology: the Case for Venus,”  NASA Technical Memorandum TM 2003-212310 (2003).
  • G. Montague, G. Brown, C. Morrison, A. Provenza, and A. Kascak, “High-Temperature Switched-Reluctance Electric Motor,” NASA Tech Briefs, Feb. 2003 [available online].

Papers on Venus Airplanes (Links to the NASA Glenn Technical Reports Server)