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Shukrayaan 1 - ISRO’s Mission to Venus

The term "Shukrayaan" finds its roots in the ancient Sanskrit language, where "Shukra" means Venus and "Yana" signifies craft or vehicle. This mission is a meticulously planned endeavor by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) aimed at comprehensively studying Venus's surface and atmosphere.

The mission unfolds with three overarching research objectives. First, it seeks to delve into surface stratigraphy and the intricate processes involved in re-surfacing Venus. Second, it endeavors to unravel the mysteries of atmospheric chemistry, dynamics, and compositional variations on this enigmatic planet. Finally, it aims to investigate the interaction between solar irradiance, solar wind, and Venus's ionosphere. Additionally, the mission contemplates conducting research on Venus's active volcanic hotspots, analyzing lava flows and their patterns. Furthermore, it intends to reexamine prior claims of phosphine on Venus, as current findings are under scrutiny for potential errors.

The inception of interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus was heavily influenced by the remarkable success of ISRO's Chandrayaan and Mars Orbiter Mission. The idea of a mission to Venus was first introduced at a space conference in Tirupati back in 2012. ISRO received authorization to initiate preliminary studies, marking the beginning of an ambitious journey.

Between 2016 and 2017, ISRO collaborated with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on a venture to study Venus's atmosphere. This study utilized signals from JAXA's Akatsuki spacecraft, employing a radio occultation experiment to gain valuable insights into Venus's atmospheric composition and behavior.

The mission plans to carry a 100-kilogram science payload, featuring a suite of instruments from both India and other nations. As of December 2019, an impressive total of 16 Indian payloads and seven international payloads had been shortlisted to participate in this groundbreaking mission. This collaborative effort reflects the global significance and scientific enthusiasm surrounding Shukrayaan.

In summary, Shukrayaan represents India's ambitious foray into the realm of interplanetary exploration, with a particular focus on the captivating planet Venus. Its multifaceted research objectives and collaborative international efforts demonstrate ISRO's commitment to expanding our understanding of the cosmos, following in the footsteps of previous successful missions to the Moon and Mars.

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