The space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is developing a public task to design a barrier restraint sensor for a potential future Venus rover. The project, dubbed “Exploring Hell: Avoiding Obstacles on a Clockwork Rover,” is searching for the public’s ideas for a sensor that could be included in the design concept.
Venus is known for its extreme conditions and features. With a ground temperature of about 840 degrees Fahrenheit, and a soil pressure approximately 90 times that of our planet, Venus can cause lots of damages.
While many tasks have been developed for the harsh planet, only about a few have succeeded in making contact with its ground before getting scattered by the pressure and the oppressive heat. The last spaceship that reached Venus, for example, was the Soviet Vega 2, which landed back in 1985. Currently, scientists and engineers at the JPL are examining many concepts that can endure the destructive surface.
NASA wants to explore Venus with a rover
“By getting on the ground and exploring Venus, we can understand what caused Earth and Venus to diverge on wildly different paths and can explore a foreign world right in our own backyard,” detailed Jonathan Sauder from JPL.
Examining and exploring various geologic features across the ground of Venus could help us get how the planet’s transformation occurred, and could offer a better perception of our planet’s climate. The difficulty of such a task is in developing a sensor that does not rely on electronic methods.
Current techniques fail at only over 250 degrees Fahrenheit and would quickly drop to the extreme Venus atmosphere. That is why the space agency is seeking help from the worldwide community of inventors and innovators for a concept. Participants will get the chance to win $15,000 as a first-place prize, while a second-place would bring them $10,000. As for the third place, winners will get $5,000.