of the 2010 proposal
In 2007, the EVE team proposed an ambitious mission
consisting of one balloon platform floating at an altitude of 50-60 km,
one descent probe provided by Russia, and an orbiter with a polar orbit
for data relay as well as orbital science. In 2010 we propose a much
simpler mission consisting only of a single balloon platform, which will
perform a complete circumnavigation of Venus and communicate direct to
Earth. We show that this simpler mission, which is achievable by ESA
alone, will satisfactorily address many of the key science questions at
The minimum lifetime of the balloon is 10 days,
required for one full circle around the planet,
much longer than the 48 hour data returned from Russia's VEGA balloons.
Earth-based VLBI and Doppler measurements provide tracking information
for the balloon when it is visible from the Earth, allowing measurement
of the cloud-level wind field.
EVE is an M-size mission launched by a Soyuz Fregat
2-1b from Kourou (capacity of 1400 kg). A nominal launch date is
proposed in 2023, with a possibility to launch earlier in 2021. It
consists of a carrier spacecraft, which will deliver the balloon entry
probe to Venus before performing a trajectory correction maneuver in
order to fly past Venus. The flyby craft will provide data relay for the
balloon during the crucial first two hours of its float phase. The
balloon, which like the successful Vega balloons will be a helium
superpressure balloon, will be deployed at an altitude of 55 km, which
is in the heart of the convective cloud deck. The minimum balloon
lifetime is 10 days, during which time it will be carried all the way
around the planet by Venusí super-rotating winds. A direct-to-Earth
communications link will be used to return scientific data. The balloon
data transmission rate to Earth through the orbiter relay is estimated
to be about
5 Mbit per day during balloon operation period.
The balloon payload is focussed on all aspects of
cloud-level processes. The key instrument is a sophisticated GCMS system
to analyse the cloud and gas composition; this is backed up by optical
spectrometry of the cloud particle composition, and measurement of
dynamics, radiative balance, and microphysical properties. In
particular, the balloon offers a stable vehicle for isotopic mass
spectrometry, which requires long integration times (hours).
Note that the VEGA balloons of 1984, while
demonstrating the technological feasibility of deploying balloons on
Venus, carried only a very small payload of pressure, temperature, light
flux, and backscatter sensors. The EVE balloon would carry a full
chemistry lab and isotopic analysis.
The flyby craft would carry only a simple context
imager, in order to image the entry site of the balloon probe, but would
carry no further science payload.
outreach movie: "Around Venus by balloon"
exploration is exciting.
Therefore, planetary exploration missions
offer an invaluable opportunity to engage with the public. In the 21st
century, public engagement needs to use many media, including the
internet and film.
We present here a short educational film
related to the European Venus Explorer mission proposal. If the proposal
were selected, we would make several such films, each exploring
different science topics: for example greenhouse warming, satellite
orbits, cloud processes - as well as films about scientists and
engineers at work, the international nature of ESA projects, and other
such more general topics.
This particular film is aimed at 14-18
year old science students, but could be used more in a wider range of
If used in a formal education (classroom) setting,
teachers should introduce the following concepts:
1) Basic facts about
the planets - in particular Earth, Venus, Mars
2) Basic facts on gravity and how to travel
Greenhouse warming (natural greenhouse effect and the contribution from
Practical activities can also be linked in
with a lesson on Venus and balloons. As an example, the film shows
footage from a balloon release experiment performed at a school in
Portugal. This proved very popular, and provides a good opportunity to
talk about the use of weather balloons. The balloon release experiment
be repeated at local schools.
Length of film:
File size: 77.598 kB
Director: Maarten Roos
Produced by Maarten Roos and the
Academy of Documentary Film
Download the movie
DVD Version - with
this link you can download an image file of the movie to burn a DVD
using e.g. Disk Utility (Mac) or applications like Nero (Windows).
The DVD features subtitles in English and includes an additional
short extra film.
Download DVD image
Explanatory notes for the use of the movies in
Download: Around Venus by Balloon - work suggestions
Download: Around Venus by Balloon - integral text
Download: Weather Stations and Balloons -