The European Space Agency on Thursday selected the Envision probe for use in the exploration of Venus in the early 2030s.
The mission aims to understand why the planet closest to Earth has turned into an uninhabitable inferno.
This announcement comes a week after the US space agency “NASA” announced two missions to Venus, called “DaVinci +” and “Veritas”, between 2028 and 2030.
The European Agency, which includes 22 member countries, said in a statement that the “Envision” probe, which was in competition with another mission called “Tezius”, was recently selected by the European Space Agency’s Scientific Program Committee thanks to the “revolutionary” technology adopted in it.
The total budget for the mission is 610 million euros, according to the European Agency.
The probe will transmit a European instrument series that will provide “a comprehensive view of the planet and its inner nuclei in the upper atmosphere, to determine how and why Venus and Earth evolved in this different way.”
The Envision probe will not launch until 2031 at the earliest, with a possible launch in 2032 and 2033.
After liftoff, the probe will need about 15 months to reach its destination and an additional 16 months to stand in its orbit at an altitude of 220 km to 540 km above Venus.
The spectrometers placed in the probe will monitor the gases in the atmosphere and analyze the surface composition “for any change associated with indicators of active volcanic activity.” A radar provided by NASA will send images and maps of the surface.
It will allow the instrument to probe the inner surface of the planet and its gravitational field.
The European Space Agency’s previous mission, Venus Express (2005-2014), focused mainly on atmospheric research.