Gearing up to enter NASA’s New Frontiers planetary science competition, a Virginia based global aerospace company in the US, Northrop Grumman is planning to create an inflatable propeller plane that could cruise the skies of Venus’s atmosphere in 2021.
The plane, that will have almost twice the wingspan of a Boeing 737, is part of the Venus mission concept called Venus Atmospheric Manoeuvrable Platform (VAMP) and its main purpose will be to sample the acidic atmosphere of the planet’s sulfurous skies
It would be flown 50 to 70km above the surface of Venus, in a region of the atmosphere where the pressure is roughly equal to that on Earth. The plane would then be carried to Venus by a spacecraft. The ground temperature on Venus hovers around 460 degrees Celsius and ambient surface pressure is about 90 earth atmospheres.
“Surviving on the surface for any longer than four hours and getting high-resolution data is a challenge,” Constantine Tsang from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado was quoted as saying.
The company aims for $1 billion in funding from NASA to get its inflatable propeller aircraft off the ground.