A recent Venus flyby (July 2020) done by NASA’s Parker Solar Probe returned some peculiar data.
As the probe dipped about 830 kilometres (515 miles approximately) over the planet’s surface, its instruments detected a low-frequency radio pulse, a sign that Parker passed through the ionosphere, an upper atmospheric layer of the planet.
It was a premiere in science – The first time an instrument managed to record in situ measurements of the planet’s upper atmosphere in three decades.
The information helped scientists develop new understandings regarding how Venus adapts to cyclic changes in the Sun, Sciencealert reports.
Venus is a mesmerizing planet for us. It is very comparable to Earth in terms of size and make-up, but it is fundamentally different due to the toxic, scorching hot nature that it sports. Those conditions render life as we know it impossible on the planet.
Though the world is so fascinating, there have been only a few missions to explore it.
Landers can’t be sent to the planet as its surface reaches 462 degrees Celsius (864 degrees Fahrenheit), which would simply incapacitate them.
Using orbiting probes is also somewhat problematic thanks to the very thick atmosphere formed of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid rain clouds, making it a very tough job to spot what’s going on.
The Japanese Akatsuki orbiter is one of the very few recent missions to delve into the planet’s secrets.
As Parker carries on analyzing the Sun in detail, it used Venus as an intermediate gravity assist guideline.
Parker used the planet to slingshot around at a different velocity and trajectory. The signals were discovered during one of the gravity-assisted manoeuvres.