IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


16th December, 2022 Science and Technology

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  • The Union Minister of State for Science & Technology and Space Jitendra Singh informed the Parliament that ISRO has taken initiatives for feasibility studies on missions to Venus as well as Aeronomy.


What is Aeronomy?

  • Aeronomyis the scientific study of the upper atmosphere of the Earth and corresponding regions of the atmospheres of other planets. It covers the chemistry, dynamics and energy balance of both neutral and charged particles.
  • Scientists specializing in aeronomy, known as aeronomers,study the motions and chemical composition and properties of the Earth's upper atmosphere and regions of the atmospheres of other planets that correspond to it.
  • They further study the interaction between upper atmospheres and the space
  • In atmospheric regions aeronomers study, chemical dissociation and ionization are important phenomena.
  • The mathematician Sydney Chapman introduced the term aeronomy to describe the study of the Earth's upper atmosphere in 1946.


ISRO’s efforts

  • ISRO will send a spacecraft to orbit Venus to study what lies below its surface. It is expecting to launch the mission Shukrayaan by December 2024 with an orbital maneuver planned for a year after that.
  • The orbital maneuver is the use of propulsion systems to change the orbit of a spacecraft. It enables a spacecraft to enter a planet’s orbit.
  • In 2025, the Earth and Venus would be aligned in a manner that it would require a minimum amount of propellant for the spacecraft to enter the orbit of the hottest planet in the Solar System. A similar window to conduct the mission would next be available in 2031.
  • The aim of the mission is to study Venus’ atmosphere, which is toxic and corrosive in nature as clouds of sulfuric acid cover the planet. Several countries, including the United States, are also planning to send missions to Venus to try and understand how it became an inferno.  


Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun, orbiting at a distance of about 67 million miles. It falls under the habitable zone of the Sun. Venus rotates very slowly on its axis – one day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days. The planet orbits the Sun faster than Earth, however, so one year on Venus takes only about 225 Earth days, making a Venusian day longer than its year.

Venus’ thick atmosphere traps heat creating a greenhouse effect. Its surface temperature is hot enough to melt lead.

Venus rotates backward on its axis. This means the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east, opposite of what we see on Earth. The surface of Venus is dominated by volcanic features and has more volcanoes than any other planet in the Solar System.

Missions to Venus

Current and Past Missions

  • Solar Orbiter - ESA Solar Probe (2020) (5 Venus Flybys)
  • BepiColombo - ESA Mercury Orbiters and Lander (2018) (2 Venus Flybys)
  • Parker Solar Probe - NASA Solar Mission (2018) (Multiple Venus Flybys)
  • Akatsuki/Planet-C - ISAS Venus Orbiter (2010)
  • Venus Express - ESA Venus Orbiter (2005-2014)
  • MESSENGER - NASA Mercury Orbiter (2004) (Two Venus Flybys)
  • Magellan - NASA Venus Radar Mapping Mission (1989-1994)
  • Pioneer Venus - NASA Orbiter/Probes to Venus (1978-1992)
  • Galileo - NASA Mission to Jupiter (Venus Flyby - 1990)
  • Vega 1 - Soviet mission to Venus and Comet Halley (Venus Flyby - 1985)
  • Vega 2 - Soviet mission to Venus and Comet Halley (Venus Flyby - 1985)
  • Venera - Soviet Venus Missions (1961-1983)
  • Mariner 10 - NASA Mission to Venus and Mercury (1973-1975)
  • Mariner 5 - NASA Venus Flyby (1967)
  • Mariner 2 - NASA Venus Flyby (1962)
  • Venus Chronology - Timeline of all attempted and future Venus missions


Future Missions

  • DAVINCI+ - NASA Venus Orbiter and Probe (2029)
  • VERITAS - NASA Venus Orbiter (2031)
  • EnVision - ESA Venus Orbiter (2032)