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Watch NASA Test A Balloon Meant To Explore Venus

NASA has finally managed to achieve the milestone of conducting successful flight tests of its newly developed aerial robotic balloon known as “aerobot”, which has been designed to explore the atmospheric conditions on the Earth’s sister planet, i.e., Venus. Two test flights have been conducted by NASA over Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, and the prototype has come up with promising results. As NASA stated on its website, this incredibly built aerobot “could one day take to the Venusian skies.” Furthermore, NASA researchers believe that the aerobot will be well-suited to the extreme climatic conditions on Venus, which wouldn’t be possible by using any type of spacecraft except the aerobot.

Coupled with this, NASA demonstrated the composition of this aerial robotic balloon in the following words, “a balloon with a Venus orbiter, with the two working together to study Earth’s sister planet. While the orbiter would remain far above the atmosphere, taking science measurements and serving as a communication relay, an aerial robotic balloon, or aerobot, about 40 feet (12 meters) in diameter would travel into it.” Hence, it should be noted that Venus is a planet that contains high pressure, extreme heat, and gases on its surface, which makes the endeavor even more difficult to conduct with spacecrafts.

Therefore, the idea of using a robotic balloon has proved efficient as according to the researchers, it can stay on Venus for a number of days and even for months which would give enough time grant to scientists to study its atmosphere and other conditions for future research purposes. It should be noted that the aerobot is actually one-third the size of the required balloon which is needed to explore the entire Venus. The findings of the experiment reveal that the balloon cruised at about 4,000 feet over Nevada’s Black Rock desert. This location was chosen as the prevailing conditions resemble those usually found on Venus.

To that end, robotics technologist Jacob Izraelevitz, who also leads the balloon development as the JPL principal investigator of the flight tests, stated, “We’re extremely happy with the performance of the prototype. It was launched, demonstrated controlled-altitude maneuvers, and was recovered in good condition after both flights. We’ve recorded a mountain of data from these flights and are looking forward to using it to improve our simulation models before exploring our sister planet.”

On the other hand, Paul Byrne, who is an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis and aerobot science collaborator, said, “The success of these test flights is a huge deal for us: We’ve successfully demonstrated the technology we’ll need for investigating the clouds of Venus.”

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