VAMP inflatable space plane could explore Venus

Aerospace company Northrop Grumman has unveiled a new idea for an aircraft that is designed specifically to explore the upper atmosphere of Venus. The aircraft is called the Venus Atmospheric Maneuverability Platform or VAMP for short. The aircraft is an inflatable device that would be deployed from space and skim the upper atmosphere of Venus. Northrop designed the VAMP to be light enough to stay aloft in the atmosphere of Venus using little or no energy.

The design is also meant to be maneuverable enough that it could navigate Venus using the strong winds in the atmosphere and durable enough to survive the harsh sulfuric acid in the atmosphere of the planet. VAMP is specifically designed for the NASA New Frontiers program that is looking for new and innovative approaches to explore space.

If NASA likes VAMP, the aircraft could be ready to explore Venus in a decade. One reason that Northrop is looking for ways to explore Venus is because the planet is significantly closer and easier to reach most of the time than Mars.

However, surface exploration would be nearly impossible since temperatures on the surface of Venus are hot enough to melt lead. However, some sort of floating settlement in the clouds of Venus would be subject to temperatures, pressures, and radiation similar to Earth.

SOURCE: The Verge