The Science Case for EnVision
The dramatic discovery of volcanic hotspots in Venus Express data suggest that the next stage of Venus exploration must focus on its surface: the geological interface between its dense, hostile atmosphere and its Earth-like but puzzling interior. Magellan data revealed an incredible number of volcanoes, as well as rift systems, mountain belts, and a range of features still poorly understood, on a world with a crater count indicative of mean surface age of only 500 Ma, as young as Europe. To understand this complex world, EnVision will measure the rate and nature of geological activity and its influence on atmospheric chemistry. Discovering why Venus is so similar to Earth and yet also so different reaches to the core of the Cosmic Vision questions:
- How important is geology and atmosphere to sustaining life?
- Are the initial conditions of planetary formation of key importance, or its later evolution?
The three main science themes covered by the mission are:
See also the Frequently Asked Question: What world-wide firsts will EnVision accomplish during its mission?