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(Newser)   Inflatable unmanned "sky rover" could explore Earth's "sister planet" Venus by floating in its atmosphere   (newser.com) divider line 63
    More: Cool, Earth, sky rover, planets, Mars landing, rovers, Northrop Grumman, buoyancy, sky  
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1407 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 Mar 2014 at 8:35 PM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-03 08:41:13 PM
FTA: Unlike the "seven minutes of terror" that accompanied the Curiosity rover's Mars landing, "this would be more like an hour and a half of trepidation,"

/I lol'd
 
2014-03-03 09:12:08 PM
It's about the only way to work around Venus. Good practice for Saturn.
 
NFA [TotalFark]
2014-03-03 09:29:56 PM
The Russians dropped a balloon in the Venetian atmosphere back in the 1980's.   Venus is about 900 degrees F, with winds of 200+ MPH and concentrated sulfuric acid rain.  The surface of the planet is covered with liquefied CO2 because the extreme pressures.   Probes with have been sent there were destroyed very quickly.
 
2014-03-03 10:05:39 PM
Kwame, go explore Venus.
 
2014-03-03 10:14:08 PM

NFA: The Russians dropped a balloon in the Venetian atmosphere back in the 1980's.   Venus is about 900 degrees F, with winds of 200+ MPH and concentrated sulfuric acid rain.  The surface of the planet is covered with liquefied CO2 because the extreme pressures.   Probes with have been sent there were destroyed very quickly.


The only interesting question is whether it gets crushed, melted, sheared or dissolved first.
 
2014-03-03 10:17:24 PM
Something is going to happen. Something wonderful.
 
2014-03-03 10:30:20 PM
How can you inflate anything that has TREMENDOUS crushing atmospheric pressure? Even the Russians had a Hellacious time trying to keep their probes from being crumpled like beer cans within an hour of landing.
 
2014-03-03 10:40:41 PM
Data would be sent back to the carrier spacecraft and then to Earth-until the craft eventually loses its buoyancy and its mission comes to an end.

Ha. The mission is designed to die (or, well, a designed-to-die architecture is favored) because NASA administrators don't want to deal with supporting an open-ended mission. I overheard Gerstenmaier himself talking to a Purdue professor about what a pain in the ass it was to plan lunar X-band transmissions (or something like that) around Spirit and Opportunity, which were supposed to have been dead.
 
2014-03-03 10:45:06 PM
I understand that Great Britain already has the prototype

www.tokyoartbeat.com


And it's pretty darn good at collecting


/we want...information
 
2014-03-03 10:45:17 PM
I see people aren't understanding how atmospheres work. The higher you are, the lower the pressure. Yes, it's still fast moving sulfuric acid, but you could float in a single BAR. Move up or down even.
 
2014-03-03 10:48:01 PM

wildcardjack: I see people aren't understanding how atmospheres work. The higher you are, the lower the pressure. Yes, it's still fast moving sulfuric acid, but you could float in a single BAR. Move up or down even.


I suppose the hardest part is to slow the relative velocities.  A balloon would be great, but it would be tough to build one that would survive hitting the atmosphere at 20k km/hr
 
2014-03-03 10:49:43 PM

TV's Vinnie: How can you inflate anything that has TREMENDOUS crushing atmospheric pressure? Even the Russians had a Hellacious time trying to keep their probes from being crumpled like beer cans within an hour of landing.


It's only crushing down at the surface. Stay up high enough and it's manageable. They're talking about dropping this thing off at like 200,000 feet and keeping it in roughly that area of the atmosphere for it's entire operational life. I don't know what the density would be at that altitude, but it will be far less hellish than the surface.

This trick could be used on the gas giants as well.
 
2014-03-03 10:55:05 PM

ko_kyi: wildcardjack: I see people aren't understanding how atmospheres work. The higher you are, the lower the pressure. Yes, it's still fast moving sulfuric acid, but you could float in a single BAR. Move up or down even.

I suppose the hardest part is to slow the relative velocities.  A balloon would be great, but it would be tough to build one that would survive hitting the atmosphere at 20k km/hr


Wiki seems to indicate that the 40-ish mile mark in that atmosphere is roughly similar to earth's sea level pressure and temp, so slowing to a reasonable speed to deploy this balloon-plane-thing probably isn't much different from ensuring a survivable re-entry to earth's atmosphere. Sphere-cone body and parachutes.
 
2014-03-03 11:01:08 PM

rdyb: Data would be sent back to the carrier spacecraft and then to Earth-until the craft eventually loses its buoyancy and its mission comes to an end.

Ha. The mission is designed to die (or, well, a designed-to-die architecture is favored) because NASA administrators don't want to deal with supporting an open-ended mission. I overheard Gerstenmaier himself talking to a Purdue professor about what a pain in the ass it was to plan lunar X-band transmissions (or something like that) around Spirit and Opportunity, which were supposed to have been dead.


Probably more a matter of just accepting the fact that nothing's gonna last too long in contact with the Venusian atmosphere, even at higher altitudes. You can raft on molten lava if you want to. But don't expect the boat to survive very long.
 
2014-03-03 11:09:01 PM

wildcardjack: I see people aren't understanding how atmospheres work. The higher you are, the lower the pressure. Yes, it's still fast moving sulfuric acid, but you could float in a single BAR. Move up or down even.


you think we have the technology to create something that can survive one bar?  Inconveniencable
 
2014-03-03 11:09:39 PM

costermonger: Wiki seems to indicate that the 40-ish mile mark in that atmosphere is roughly similar to earth's sea level pressure and temp, so slowing to a reasonable speed to deploy this balloon-plane-thing probably isn't much different from ensuring a survivable re-entry to earth's atmosphere. Sphere-cone body and parachutes.


The technology exists, and given Venus' similar gravity to Earth I would think that the progression from space to earth-like density would be similar (actually I would think they are all like that, but that is beyond my understanding) so it seems plausible.  I would guess that there are other reasons not to do it, either that other conditions like the sulfuric acid would destroy the spacecraft in a month or so, or that they conditions would be such that little useful data could be gathered for the cost.
 
2014-03-03 11:19:14 PM

costermonger: TV's Vinnie: How can you inflate anything that has TREMENDOUS crushing atmospheric pressure? Even the Russians had a Hellacious time trying to keep their probes from being crumpled like beer cans within an hour of landing.

It's only crushing down at the surface. Stay up high enough and it's manageable. They're talking about dropping this thing off at like 200,000 feet and keeping it in roughly that area of the atmosphere for it's entire operational life. I don't know what the density would be at that altitude, but it will be far less hellish than the surface.

This trick could be used on the gas giants as well.


Yeah. Enjoy the 250 MPH winds up there in the atmosphere. Any gasbag sent there is going to get shredded within minutes.
 
2014-03-03 11:23:20 PM

TV's Vinnie: costermonger: TV's Vinnie: How can you inflate anything that has TREMENDOUS crushing atmospheric pressure? Even the Russians had a Hellacious time trying to keep their probes from being crumpled like beer cans within an hour of landing.

It's only crushing down at the surface. Stay up high enough and it's manageable. They're talking about dropping this thing off at like 200,000 feet and keeping it in roughly that area of the atmosphere for it's entire operational life. I don't know what the density would be at that altitude, but it will be far less hellish than the surface.

This trick could be used on the gas giants as well.

Yeah. Enjoy the 250 MPH winds up there in the atmosphere. Any gasbag sent there is going to get shredded within minutes.


I'm guessing that nasa engineers are privy to the information. About Venus you all are talking about.
 
2014-03-03 11:23:55 PM
Just Jiffy-Pop that sucker up and baby, you got an interplanetary popcorn going on.
Because Science.
 
2014-03-03 11:26:06 PM

TV's Vinnie: costermonger: TV's Vinnie: How can you inflate anything that has TREMENDOUS crushing atmospheric pressure? Even the Russians had a Hellacious time trying to keep their probes from being crumpled like beer cans within an hour of landing.

It's only crushing down at the surface. Stay up high enough and it's manageable. They're talking about dropping this thing off at like 200,000 feet and keeping it in roughly that area of the atmosphere for it's entire operational life. I don't know what the density would be at that altitude, but it will be far less hellish than the surface.

This trick could be used on the gas giants as well.

Yeah. Enjoy the 250 MPH winds up there in the atmosphere. Any gasbag sent there is going to get shredded within minutes.


You know this has actually been done before, right? The Soviets released a couple balloon probes at roughly that level of the atmosphere almost 30 years ago. They lasted a couple days each, until their batteries died.
 
2014-03-03 11:28:48 PM
Somewhere, Arthur C. Clarke is smiling...
 
2014-03-03 11:35:10 PM

SpdrJay: Kwame, go explore Venus.


It says "unmanned"...
 
2014-03-03 11:40:30 PM

costermonger: TV's Vinnie: costermonger: TV's Vinnie: How can you inflate anything that has TREMENDOUS crushing atmospheric pressure? Even the Russians had a Hellacious time trying to keep their probes from being crumpled like beer cans within an hour of landing.

It's only crushing down at the surface. Stay up high enough and it's manageable. They're talking about dropping this thing off at like 200,000 feet and keeping it in roughly that area of the atmosphere for it's entire operational life. I don't know what the density would be at that altitude, but it will be far less hellish than the surface.

This trick could be used on the gas giants as well.

Yeah. Enjoy the 250 MPH winds up there in the atmosphere. Any gasbag sent there is going to get shredded within minutes.

You know this has actually been done before, right? The Soviets released a couple balloon probes at roughly that level of the atmosphere almost 30 years ago. They lasted a couple days each, until their batteries died.


I'm sure people posting on Fark know better than engineers that design stuff like space probes.
 
2014-03-03 11:42:18 PM

costermonger: TV's Vinnie: costermonger: TV's Vinnie: How can you inflate anything that has TREMENDOUS crushing atmospheric pressure? Even the Russians had a Hellacious time trying to keep their probes from being crumpled like beer cans within an hour of landing.

It's only crushing down at the surface. Stay up high enough and it's manageable. They're talking about dropping this thing off at like 200,000 feet and keeping it in roughly that area of the atmosphere for it's entire operational life. I don't know what the density would be at that altitude, but it will be far less hellish than the surface.

This trick could be used on the gas giants as well.

Yeah. Enjoy the 250 MPH winds up there in the atmosphere. Any gasbag sent there is going to get shredded within minutes.

You know this has actually been done before, right? The Soviets released a couple balloon probes at roughly that level of the atmosphere almost 30 years ago. They lasted a couple days each, until their batteries died.


The longest ANY probe to the Venusian atmosphere or ground last 100 minutes, tops.
 
2014-03-03 11:46:37 PM
100 minutes or a couple of days?

References guys, because you both sound so damned sure.
 
2014-03-03 11:48:05 PM

Veritas: Probably more a matter of just accepting the fact that nothing's gonna last too long in contact with the Venusian atmosphere, even at higher altitudes. You can raft on molten lava if you want to. But don't expect the boat to survive very long.


Fair enough. I still have to wonder though, every time I hear about a new spacecraft that has a limited lifespan, if that sentiment doesn't play a role in the selection process. Don't get me wrong, Billy G's a great guy, but at the end of the day he's still got to play the part of a political bureaucrat.
 
2014-03-03 11:50:18 PM
Wacky waving inflatable unmanned sky rover, wacky waving inflatable unmanned sky rover, wacky waving inflatable unmanned sky rover...
 
2014-03-03 11:58:34 PM

White_Scarf_Syndrome: 100 minutes or a couple of days?

References guys, because you both sound so damned sure.


vega2 balloon stage lasted about 2 days

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vega_2
 
2014-03-04 12:00:05 AM

TV's Vinnie: costermonger: TV's Vinnie: costermonger: TV's Vinnie: How can you inflate anything that has TREMENDOUS crushing atmospheric pressure? Even the Russians had a Hellacious time trying to keep their probes from being crumpled like beer cans within an hour of landing.

It's only crushing down at the surface. Stay up high enough and it's manageable. They're talking about dropping this thing off at like 200,000 feet and keeping it in roughly that area of the atmosphere for it's entire operational life. I don't know what the density would be at that altitude, but it will be far less hellish than the surface.

This trick could be used on the gas giants as well.

Yeah. Enjoy the 250 MPH winds up there in the atmosphere. Any gasbag sent there is going to get shredded within minutes.

You know this has actually been done before, right? The Soviets released a couple balloon probes at roughly that level of the atmosphere almost 30 years ago. They lasted a couple days each, until their batteries died.

The longest ANY probe to the Venusian atmosphere or ground last 100 minutes, tops.



You sure about that? Back in the mid 80's the Soviets floated some balloons in the Venutian atmosphere for two days:

The Vega 1 soil experiment failed. Vega 2's soil experiment sampled anorthosite-troctolite, which is found in the lunar highlands but is rare on Earth. Both balloons floated in the atmosphere for about 48 hours at an altitude of 54 kilometers (34 miles). Vega 1 and 2 encountered downward gusts of 1 meter/second (2 miles per hour) and wind velocities of up to 240 kilometers/hour (150 miles per hour).

It was part of the "Vega" program. I have a feeling NASA engineers today could design something that outperforms mid 80's Soviet technology. Do you not?
 
2014-03-04 12:04:56 AM

rdyb: Fair enough. I still have to wonder though, every time I hear about a new spacecraft that has a limited lifespan, if that sentiment doesn't play a role in the selection process. Don't get me wrong, Billy G's a great guy, but at the end of the day he's still got to play the part of a political bureaucrat.


Yeah a mission that significantly exceeds its anticipated lifespan is going to come with its own costs and complications: having to keep mission staff on the roster for that mission instead of being redeployed to something more current, etc. But I reckon they probably just accept that the bonus data is worth it and just enjoy it while it lasts. *shrug*
 
2014-03-04 12:07:20 AM

mongbiohazard: I have a feeling NASA engineers today could design something that outperforms mid 80's Soviet technology. Do you not?


"NASA engineers today" are still struggling to re-invent the Saturn V, which was designed in the early 60's.
 
2014-03-04 12:08:08 AM

Veritas: You can raft on molten lava if you want to. But don't expect the boat to survive very long.


Anakin should have stayed on it anyway. Obi-Wan had the high ground.
 
2014-03-04 12:13:45 AM

TV's Vinnie: The longest ANY probe to the Venusian atmosphere or ground last 100 minutes, tops.


You seem really sure.
 
2014-03-04 12:22:42 AM
www.toysyouhad.com
Frowns on these balloon shenanigans.
 
2014-03-04 12:24:03 AM

costermonger: TV's Vinnie: The longest ANY probe to the Venusian atmosphere or ground last 100 minutes, tops.

You seem really sure.


Oh. So it's gonna be one of those someoneiswrongontheinternet.jpg moments for you, is it?

There's a difference between using Venus' gravity as a slingshot to Haley's Comet than a probe designed to penetrate it's atmosphere and/or even make a landing.
 
2014-03-04 12:28:45 AM

TV's Vinnie: mongbiohazard: I have a feeling NASA engineers today could design something that outperforms mid 80's Soviet technology. Do you not?

"NASA engineers today" are still struggling to re-invent the Saturn V, which was designed in the early 60's.


That's mostly because they worked.

Same with the Soyuz rockets that are still being used, they first flew in the 60s. But they work and are reliable (in rocketry terms, at least). Redesigning something like that is a bigger pain in the arse than it's worth, usually. It's a lot of trial and error (mostly expensive error). Once you have one that works, and tends to explode relatively infrequently, you stick with it. "New is the enemy of good", as Russian rocket engineers have said ;)
 
2014-03-04 12:28:54 AM

TV's Vinnie: mongbiohazard: I have a feeling NASA engineers today could design something that outperforms mid 80's Soviet technology. Do you not?

"NASA engineers today" are still struggling to re-invent the Saturn V, which was designed in the early 60's.



They've also been making amazing probes which have been pretty awesome accomplishments performing well beyond everyone's wildest expectations. And we're not re-inventing the Saturn V so much as making new rockets with similar capabilities while meeting modern safety standards - and this time on a limited budget without the threat of the Rooskies to make it a national priority. I'm not sure that really qualifies as struggling per se.

And as mentioned.... Those engineers make some REAL great probes at this point. If you want to argue that we couldn't build better ones then the Soviets did in the mid 80's knock yourself out, but you might want to consider how wrong you were already about those probes. Those probes you thought lasted "100 minutes, tops". Maybe this isn't an area your judgment isn't going to serve you too well in...
 
2014-03-04 12:33:04 AM

TV's Vinnie: Oh. So it's gonna be one of those someoneiswrongontheinternet.jpg moments for you, is it?


Well, I mean, you just keep doing it. I can't resist.

There's a difference between using Venus' gravity as a slingshot to Haley's Comet than a probe designed to penetrate it's atmosphere and/or even make a landing.

Those certainly are different things, but the Vega probes did all of them, and launched some balloons to float around in the atmosphere to boot. What point where you going for here?
 
2014-03-04 12:52:42 AM

mongbiohazard: And we're not re-inventing the Saturn V so much as making new rockets with similar capabilities

out of stuff made by established Space Shuttle contractors, as mandated by Congress to protect those specific companies from the impact of the end of the Shuttle program while meeting modern safety standards

Seriously, they're configuring the Space Shuttle External Tank, Space Shuttle Main Engines, and Solid Rocket Boosters into a Saturn V-like configuration. The main consumable components of the Space Shuttle will also be consumed by every Space Launch System launch, with the addition of the formerly reusable but now single-use Space Shuttle Main Engines.
 
2014-03-04 12:53:59 AM

Saiga410: wildcardjack: I see people aren't understanding how atmospheres work. The higher you are, the lower the pressure. Yes, it's still fast moving sulfuric acid, but you could float in a single BAR. Move up or down even.

you think we have the technology to create something that can survive one bar?  Inconveniencable


Hey, AT&T still has customers.
 
2014-03-04 01:02:40 AM

fusillade762: [www.toysyouhad.com image 480x352]
Frowns on these balloon shenanigans.


GAH! Nightmare fuel for 10 year-old me.
 
2014-03-04 01:11:05 AM
Better article here.

Apparently, this thing is going to float into Venus' atmosphere at suborbital velocity.
 
2014-03-04 01:11:23 AM

davidphogan: costermonger: TV's Vinnie: costermonger: TV's Vinnie: How can you inflate anything that has TREMENDOUS crushing atmospheric pressure? Even the Russians had a Hellacious time trying to keep their probes from being crumpled like beer cans within an hour of landing.

It's only crushing down at the surface. Stay up high enough and it's manageable. They're talking about dropping this thing off at like 200,000 feet and keeping it in roughly that area of the atmosphere for it's entire operational life. I don't know what the density would be at that altitude, but it will be far less hellish than the surface.

This trick could be used on the gas giants as well.

Yeah. Enjoy the 250 MPH winds up there in the atmosphere. Any gasbag sent there is going to get shredded within minutes.

You know this has actually been done before, right? The Soviets released a couple balloon probes at roughly that level of the atmosphere almost 30 years ago. They lasted a couple days each, until their batteries died.

I'm sure people posting on Fark know better than engineers that design stuff like space probes.


I certainly do.

Just give me some chewing gum, duct tape, 35 lbs of plutonium, and hold my beer
 
2014-03-04 01:12:25 AM

TV's Vinnie: mongbiohazard: I have a feeling NASA engineers today could design something that outperforms mid 80's Soviet technology. Do you not?

"NASA engineers today" are still struggling to re-invent the Saturn V, which was designed in the early 60's.


Not really. The plans are available and there is nothing stopping NASA from simply commissioning more Saturn Vs.

Well, except common sense. The Saturn V was reliable and powerful, but it is by no means a modern rocket which should be used again today as is. A better solution can be found for less (relative) cost.
 
2014-03-04 01:23:53 AM

Jekylman: Saiga410: wildcardjack: I see people aren't understanding how atmospheres work. The higher you are, the lower the pressure. Yes, it's still fast moving sulfuric acid, but you could float in a single BAR. Move up or down even.

you think we have the technology to create something that can survive one bar?  Inconveniencable

Hey, AT&T still has customers.


Protip: If you're an AT&T customer, remember that every single time you call customer service, the agent you're talking to has the ability to apply free money against your bill. When I worked their customer service line it was $250 per call. There's a lot of flexibility in this. Within 3 months I had given away over $24,000 of AT&T's money. By the end of my tenure there I was using that $250 per call to solve a lot of problems. I easily broke $100,000 of AT&T's money given away. If you have a problem with your bill, or want some kind of discount for a reason you can justify, call customer care. The first agent might not give it up, but eventually you'll get someone like me who hates their job and wants to give you free money. Some customers would call in and be angry because they'd had to call multiple times to resolve an (actual) issue, and demanded compensation - I just told them that I'm not paying them more for being on the phone with me than I got paid for being on the phone with them, and took their word on how much time they've wasted. I calculated my wages more for other people than I did for myself...

/9 months
//Giving away money was the best part about that job
///Well, next to the Team Leader who would have "meetings" at least once a week where we'd play board games (Apples to Apples was played almost every time) and gorge ourselves on junk food.
 
2014-03-04 01:29:51 AM

LavenderWolf: TV's Vinnie: mongbiohazard: I have a feeling NASA engineers today could design something that outperforms mid 80's Soviet technology. Do you not?

"NASA engineers today" are still struggling to re-invent the Saturn V, which was designed in the early 60's.

Not really. The plans are available and there is nothing stopping NASA from simply commissioning more Saturn Vs.

Well, except common sense. The Saturn V was reliable and powerful, but it is by no means a modern rocket which should be used again today as is. A better solution can be found for less (relative) cost.


Actually that brings up a question. Would it be more economically feasible to design a heavy launch system from the ground up, or to plan an updated version of the Saturn V?
 
2014-03-04 03:30:28 AM

TV's Vinnie: costermonger: TV's Vinnie: How can you inflate anything that has TREMENDOUS crushing atmospheric pressure? Even the Russians had a Hellacious time trying to keep their probes from being crumpled like beer cans within an hour of landing.

It's only crushing down at the surface. Stay up high enough and it's manageable. They're talking about dropping this thing off at like 200,000 feet and keeping it in roughly that area of the atmosphere for it's entire operational life. I don't know what the density would be at that altitude, but it will be far less hellish than the surface.

This trick could be used on the gas giants as well.

Yeah. Enjoy the 250 MPH winds up there in the atmosphere. Any gasbag sent there is going to get shredded within minutes.


Balloons experience relative wind speeds of zero because they're floating in the wind stream. Newton's first law. The surface of the earth is rotating at 1,000 miles an hour but you aren't being torn to shreds by passing mountains.

I seriously wonder if half the people that posted in this thread passed middle school science class, much less physics or engineering courses at the graduate level.
 
2014-03-04 03:31:56 AM
I've read before that there are unexplained chemical reactions high in the atmosphere of Venus that could be explained as biological activity.  Anybody know any more about this?
 
2014-03-04 05:28:19 AM
Jebediah Kerman wants to know if 'unmanned' includes 'unkerballed'.
 
2014-03-04 06:49:07 AM

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Balloons experience relative wind speeds of zero because they're floating in the wind stream. Newton's first law.


It's not the wind speed itself; it's the turbulence.  The pressure at 50 miles up is manageable, but it's basically an acid hurricane.

ACID HURRICANE.

/ that's so much fun to say
// acid hurricane
/// but in the end it comes down to engineering.  It's definitely possible
 
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