NASA Glenn Scientists are Leading the Way to Future Surface Missions on Venus

Using a simulated Venus atmosphere right here in Cleveland, NASA Glenn scientists have been testing ways to keep electronic devices functional in such harsh conditions. With recent experiments lasting 521 hours, the hope is that NASA can sustain longer, more involved surface lander missions on our planet's mysterious next-door neighbor.

The surface temperature on Venus is often a balmy 860 degrees Fahrenheit, and the atmospheric pressure to similar to what you'd deal with about a half-mile under the ocean. That's not good for circuits and wires. Previous surface missions on Venus have lasted no more than two hours.

The NASA Glenn team developed some really incredible silicon carbide semiconductor integrated circuits — durable pieces of equipment that need no cooling or protective packaging to withstand Venusian heat.

“With further technology development, such electronics could drastically improve Venus lander designs and mission concepts, enabling the first long-duration missions to the surface of Venus,” Phil Neudeck, lead electronics engineer on this one, said in a public statement.

Scene published an extensive feature last month on NASA Glenn engineers' roles in the impending manned mission to Mars.

About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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