Venus In-Situ Sample Capture Mission

Week of June 21, 2021
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

While the target of the very first interplanetary mission was Venus, there are still significant gaps in our knowledge about the planet. In situ Venus missions present both a high scientific pay-off, and significant implementation challenges. A long-lived surface mission is compelling because it could address many of our highest priority questions about Venusian surface. However, emerging long duration Venus in situ technologies require continued development to reach the level of capability currently achievable on other solid bodies. Now is the time to consider unconventional architectures that leverage technological advancements to deliver new understanding about the surface and near-surface regions of Venus.

The goal of the workshop is to develop new concepts for in situ sample capture missions, where samples from the Venusian surface or lower atmosphere are delivered to an “airborne laboratory” for analysis. The Russians achieved both limited-lifetime landed missions (~2 hours on the surface) as well as balloon missions under the Venera and Vega programs. To date, the only in situ Venus information comes from these Russian missions and NASA’s Pioneer Venus Multiprobe mission. The challenging environment limits options and the accessible science; short-lived lander and aerial vehicle missions have been proposed, but have not been selected. The 2003 Decadal Survey ranked the Venus In Situ Explorer (VISE) highest among new inner planets mission concepts, but no mission proposal was successful. Venus Surface Sample Return (VSSR) promoted the exploration of options to return samples to Earth, but was discarded as too costly and complex. Despite this, the new Venus Exploration Roadmap recognizes that “the ability to carry out prolonged surface observations from a mobile platform operating on the surface or close to the surface would have enormous value,” but does not currently identify a path to do so. This workshop will systematically analyze feasibility, science return, and paths forward for architectures that collect samples at multiple locations for return to a longer-lived airborne laboratory.

Workshop participants will:

  • Identify different approaches to in situ sample retrieval and analysis,
  • Analyze the feasibility of the approaches,
  • Establish the scope of science enabled by the most promising approaches,
  • Identify the analytical instruments needed for characterization of the retrieved samples, and
  • Determine the technology needed, and pathways to development.

Schedule Coming Soon...

List of Workshop Participants Coming Soon...

Lodging for out-of-town attendees

There are a number of hotels (2 pages pdf, 600KB)  that are close to the Caltech campus where we have a negotiated rate. (Please note that this negotiated rate does not guarantee you the lowest rate as there may be internet specials or AAA rates that may be better.)

Please note that with enough notice, you can reserve rooms for attendees at the Athenaeum, which has been recognized as a Platinum Club of America. Newly refurbished, it is conveniently located on the Caltech Campus. Contact Janet Seid if you would like to check the availability of this option.

Visa Requirements

For Visa requirement information and travel to the United States please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State.

Parking (for Visitors and for JPL Personnel)

For Visitors: From the Arroyo Parkway, turn right (east) on Del Mar Avenue. Proceed approximately one and a quarter miles. The Caltech campus will be on your right. Turn right (south) onto Wilson Avenue. Turn right into the North Wilson Structure and park in an unmarked spot. Buy a parking permit from the kiosk located inside the North Wilson Structure or request one ahead of time from KISS.

For JPL Personnel: JPLers may use their JPL hang tag for parking or request a special parking hangtag from the JPL parking office. Employees who do not have on-Lab parking privileges can obtain a hang tag created for this purpose from JPL parking coordinator Robert Kennedy (818-354-4586, Building 310-108B, 9/80 schedule). Please park in an unmarked spot in the North Wilson Structure located on Wilson Avenue.

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