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Exploring Venus with an inflatable plane

Flying in the Venusian atmosphere.

The Space Trade Association

Inflatable Venus plane may compete for next NASA New Frontiers mission
[Via SpaceFlight Insider]

The hot and hostile surface environment of Venus poses unique challenges to scientific missions to explore the planet. In an effort to deal with these challenges, Northrop Grumman conducted a feasibility study in 2012 of an inflatable propeller-powered aircraft called the Venus Atmospheric Maneuverability Platform (VAMP). The aircraft would fly the skies above Venus at an altitude between 55 and 70 kilometers. According to Space News, Northrop Grumman plans to enter the concept in NASA’s next New Frontiers that is set to begin during the federal government’s 2016 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The winning mission will have to be ready to launch by about 2021.

On Friday, May 15, Northrop Grumman announced the formation of a science advisory board of prominent American and European planetary scientists. The board will…

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