Preparing For A Flagship: Lessons Learned From The Venus Flagship Mission Planetary Decadal Survey Study
We have recognized several areas of inquiry that would allow the community to prepare for scientific results from future mission and ensure instruments and technologies are developed that can achieve the VFM goals and objectives and reduce cost. Laboratory analyses under Venus conditions are essential, including the study of the composition and weathering of Venus relevant materials, their electrical properties and their detection with Venus sensors (e.g., NIR, SAR). Laboratory work to study the chemical and physical properties of Venus’ deep atmosphere and cloud conditions is required to investigate candidate UV absorbing species (both abiotic and biogenic), and any potential nutrient sources in this environment. The program should also include resources for improving atmospheric dynamics models as inputs into GCMs and to better predict aerobot trajectories. Future Venus missions will also benefit from detailed geologic mapping investigations, particularly of tessera terrain which is a primary target for this mission. Magellan and Arecibo can be used today to identify landing sites of highest scientific value (e.g., within the varied tesserae), accessibility (e.g., assessments of mantling deposits) and safety (surface roughness and slopes). Investments in these areas will greatly enhance science return from all Venus missions to come.