Medium Mission

The medium mission concept is based on a ride share. The medium mission survey craft would be up to 50 kg in mass, including instruments on order of 20 kg. The medium mission entry and survey craft is envisioned as a small balloon that would float in Venus’ temperate cloud layers for a few days, inspired by the Vega balloon mission.

The primary science goal is to measure abundances of gases, and identify any complex organics that can be attributed to life. Ideally, a small microscope would examine concentrated contents of liquid droplets with UV fluorescence to identify any unusual components that might be attributed to life. Ideas for the medium mission include competition for a NASA SIMPLEx mission for a ride share on a NASA Discovery Mission or Lunar Gateway Missions or even a ride on a commercial communication flight.

The medium mission is inspired by the Russian “Vega” balloon mission to the atmosphere of Venus. The image is of a model on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Institution. Photo by Geoffrey A. Landis, 2011.