Specialists of the TSU Faculty of Geology and Geography with colleagues from Carleton University (Canada) are compiling detailed maps of fragments of the surface of Venus. This will help to choose the future landing site for the orbiter with sampling in the Venera-D research mission.

Venera-D is a joint project of Roscosmos and NASA to send an orbiter and lander to Venus to determine the composition of the material of surface structures and understand the geological processes that formed the surface of this planet. The flight is scheduled for the period between 2026 and 2033.

The task of the international research group, which included Yekaterina Antropova, a junior researcher at the TSU Laboratory of Geochronology and Geodynamics at the Faculty of Geology and Geography, and Carlos Braga, a third-year student of the faculty, is to create detailed maps of fragments of the surface of Venus, 10 times larger in scale than earlier studies.

As the Faculty of Geology and Geography scientists explain, at present most of Venus is mapped at a reconnaissance scale – 1:10 000 000, 1: 5000 000. The planned regional mapping will be on a smaller scale – 1: 500 000.

– The results will form the basis for a more detailed study of the planet’s surface. To do this, it is necessary to take into account the potential safety of landing in a specific area, the representativeness of the materials, the potential simplicity, and the quality of the geochemical signal at the landing site, and the orbital limitations of the mission, – says Ekaterina Antropova.

The study will also have implications for the exploration of land-based ore deposits associated with large igneous provinces (LIPs) formed by the introduction of huge volumes of mantle magmas and for assessing their impact on the planet’s climate change.

The Earth and Venus are similar in size and some other characteristics, so the processes taking place there can also be compared. It is now recognized that the formation of the LIP on Earth had a significant impact on the climate, including, for example, the mass extinction of dinosaurs. There is an assumption that it was the LIPs that caused a sharp climate change on Venus – as a result of the release of CO2 and the increasing greenhouse effect after large-scale volcanic eruptions, life there may have disappeared.

– Moreover, there are almost no erosion processes on the surface of Venus, so we can observe and analyze structures similar to those on Earth in their primary form in the images, when the destructive force of wind, water, and other agents has not yet disturbed the original appearance, – adds Ekaterina Antropova.

That is, on Venus, geological objects are conserved due to the absence of erosion and other phenomena, they can be studied and understood how the changes took place.

Scientists have already mapped several regions of Venus with multidirectional volcanic flows, areas of fields of shield volcanoes, and entire large volcanic centers. For example, they found out that the volcano Atira Mons, on which Carlos Braga is working, is 500 km in diameter, which is comparable to the length of the Tomsk region from north to south. The next stage of work will be a demonstration of materials at an international industry conference, which is scheduled for March 2021 in Texas, USA.

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The following is a joint statement from NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos about the investigation into a pressure leak on the International Space Station Aug. 29-30:

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin met for the first time yesterday via teleconference to discuss the status of International Space Station (ISS) operations in response to a request from Roscosmos.

As part of their discussion, Dmitry Rogozin informed his American counterpart about Roscosmos decision to establish a Roscosmos-led Commission to investigate the cause of the leak in the Soyuz (MS-09/55S) spacecraft currently docked to the station.

The Administrator and the General Director noted speculations circulating in the media regarding the possible cause of the incident and agreed on deferring any preliminary conclusions and providing any explanations until the final investigation has been completed.

They affirmed the necessity of further close interaction between NASA and Roscosmos technical teams in identifying and eliminating cause of the leak, as well as continuation of normal ISS operations and NASAs ongoing support of the Roscosmos-led Soyuz investigation. They acknowledged the entire crew is dedicated to the safe operation of the station and all docked spacecraft to ensure mission success.

The Administrator and the Roscosmos General Director agreed to conduct their first face-to-face meeting at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on or about Oct. 10 when the NASA Administrator will visit Russia and Kazakhstan in conjunction with the upcoming Soyuz crew spacecraft launch of American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexy Ovchinin.

/Public Release. For more details, please visit NASA website.