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Balloon Development for Venus Gondola Development for Venus  

Balloon Technology Challenges for Venus

The carbon dioxide atmosphere of Venus is very thick (92 bar) and incredibly hot (460 degrees C) at the surface. Furthermore, it contains very reactive fluids, such as sulfuric acid clouds, which are very hazardous to balloon materials. Nevertheless, a number of balloon missions have been proposed for Venus, and one mission actually flew in 1985. This Soviet Vega balloon mission used a superpressure helium balloon that floated at 54 km altitude (0.6 bar, 40 degrees C) for over two days, measuring wind velocities. Characterizing atmosphere turbulence, and measuring solar insulation. The balloon was made of a Teflon-like material that was relatively heavy (300 gm/m2), but was impervious to the sulfuric acid clouds.

Another type of balloon proposed for Venus is a "phase-change fluid" balloon that would allow precise altitude control and perhaps even periodic descents to the hot venusian surface.


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