The Russian Venus research program includes three missions in 2029-2034, but it may be supplemented by an urgent dispatch of a station in 2027 to search for signs of life in the atmosphere of this planet, said a representative of the Lavochkin NGO (Roscosmos enterprise).
In September, British and American scientists announced the discovery of phosphine in the Venus atmosphere, which may have a biological origin. It is produced by microorganisms that do not use oxygen for breathing.
However, Alexander Bloshenko, Executive Director for Advanced Programs and Science at Roscosmos, stated that biomarkers in the Venus atmosphere cannot be considered as objective proof of life; reliable scientific data can be obtained only by contact research of the planet.
“The possibility of a “fast” additional atmospheric target expedition to study the source of phosphines in 2027 is now being assessed,” says the presentation made by the representative of the Lavochkin NGO at the Space Science Days at the Institute of Space Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The Lavochkin NGO reported that so far the Russian Venus Research Program includes three missions. The first mission is Venus-D, launched in November 2029 to study the surface, atmosphere, internal structure, and surrounding plasma of Venus.
The second mission, scheduled to be launched in June 2031, is to continue exploring the planet’s atmosphere, while the third mission, scheduled for June 2034, will deliver samples of the atmosphere, aerosols, and possibly soil from Venus to Earth.
In September 2020, Roscosmos decided to implement the Venus-D mission as a national rather than a joint one with the United States.