New Zealand’s Rocket Lab, a private space firm, has revealed it will be sending a probe to the atmosphere of Venus in 2023. Rocket Lab’s announcement comes on the back of the discovery of phosphine in the clouds of Venus. While phosphine itself is not an indicator of life, scientists current understanding of it is that the only way it can form on such a scale that it was found in Venus’s clouds is through microbial life.

However, that is not to say there is an undiscovered chemical reaction which could also be attributed to the creation of phosphine which is not biological.

Now, Rocket Lab may be the first to either confirm or deny the presence of microbial life in the clouds of Venus, with plans to send a rocket there before the likes of NASA.

The New Zealand-based firm is planning on sending a rocket called Electron there in 2023, which will be carrying a spaceship known as Photon.

As Photon flies by Venus, it will release a small probe which will travel towards the planet at six miles per second.

As it does so, it will send readings back to Photon which could be the key to finding the answer of life on Venus.

Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s founder and chief executive, told the New York Times: “This mission is to go and see if we can find life.

“Obviously, this discovery of phosphine really adds strength to that possibility. So I think we need to go and have a look there.”

Rocket Lab said on Twitter: “Well hello there Venus. Congrats to the teams behind this exciting research!

“Rocket Lab is planning a private mission to Venus in 2023, using Electron to launch a Photon satellite to the planet’s atmosphere in the hopes of providing more data in the search for life.”

Researchers have said potentially finding signs of life on Venus would be “momentous”.

Yuri Milner, founder of the Breakthrough Initiatives, which search for signs of life in the cosmos, said: “Finding life anywhere beyond Earth would be truly momentous.

“And if there’s a non-negligible chance that it’s right next door on Venus, exploring that possibility is an urgent priority for our civilisation.”

DON’T MISS
Life on Venus: What does phosphine discovery mean? Have we found life?
Bright star near the Moon: What is the bright light next to the Moon?
Forget Mars, humans should head to Venus and live in the clouds

Pete Worden, Executive Director of the Breakthrough Initiatives, added: “The discovery of phosphine is an exciting development.

“We have what could be a biosignature, and a plausible story about how it got there.

“The next step is to do the basic science needed to thoroughly investigate the evidence and consider how best to confirm and expand on the possibility of life.”

Rocket Lab will make the first progress on its mission to Venus this month when it carries out an orbital test of Photon.

Source: Read Full Article