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Venus Aerobot Multisonde Mission: atmospheric relay for imaging the surface of Venus

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10 Author(s)
Kerzhanovich, V. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; Balaram, J. ; Campbell, B. ; Cutts, J.A.
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Robotic exploration of surface of Venus presents many challenges because of the thick atmosphere, high surface pressure and high temperature. The Venus Aerobot Multisonde Mission (VAMuS) concept addresses these challenges by using a robotic balloon or aerobot to deploy a number of short lifetime probes or sondes to acquire images of the surface, perform atmospheric measurements and measure a fine composition of the atmosphere. Deployment of sondes from an aerobot has two compelling advantages it permits more precise deployment than with direct entry and it makes it possible to acquire high-rate data from the sondes using very low power transmitters because of the short communications ranges of a few tens of kilometers. Sonde data stored on the aerobot can be transmitted to Earth at much lower rates because the aerobot will operate for at least a week in the Venusian atmosphere. This paper describes the Venus Aerobot Multisonde concept, which is a foundation for Venus Exploration of Volcanoes and Atmosphere (VEVA), a proposal to NASA's Discovery program. Besides discussion of aerobot performance, the paper deals with communications, navigation and drop sonde instrumentation issues, which are key factors for mission success

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Aerospace Conference Proceedings, 2000 IEEE  (Volume:7 )

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