Following the Chandrayaan-2 moon mission that launched just last summer, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is already setting its eyes on a 2023 mission to Venus. With Venus being considered as the Earth ’s “twin sister” because of its many similarities, the mission aims to fill the gaps in the basic understanding of the planet.

Mission To Venus

Scientists and engineers at ISRO have already submitted plans for a 2023 Venus mission to the Indian national government. Evidently, the mission is set to focus on studying and mapping Venus’s surface and subsurface. For this, the Venus orbiter is expected to carry 16 instruments for the mission, including ones that would map the planet’s surface, monitor clouds, identify lightning strikes, and study the planet’s ionosphere and stratosphere.

ISRO scientist Nigar Shaji further said that the mission will also take a look at how the planet interacts with its surrounding environment. This is especially significant because despite being Earth’s twin, Venus is 30 percent closer to the sun which means that its exposure to solar radiation and other solar phenomena is much higher.

Should the mission be approved, it will likely launch in 2023 aboard the same type of vehicle that launched Chandrayaan-2.

ISRO Interplanetary Missions

Apart from the planned Venus mission, ISRO is, so far, working on several other interplanetary missions for the coming decade. As soon as April 2020, ISRO’s Aditya-L1 mission is set to study the sun’s corona and atmosphere in hopes of answering some significant solar physics questions. Later in the year, ISRO is also scheduled to launch Chandrayaan-3 bound for the moon.

By December 2021, ISRO’s “highest priority” Gaganyaan mission is set to send its first manned mission to space. Should the mission be a success, India will become the fourth nation to succeed at the feat. 

The Mangalyaan-2 mission, also known as Mars Orbiter Mission-2, is expected to launch around 2022 or 2023, followed by the mentioned Shukrayaan mission to Venus. ISRO is also planning to build a space station by 2023 and to launch the EXPOSat mission by in late 2020 with the goal of exploring X-rays in the universe.

Major missions such as these are often subject to changes, but it is clear that ISRO is facing the new space race head-on.