The EnVISION Mission to Venus: Discovering why Earth is so different to Venus

Public Talk
Richard Ghail
Friday, November 19, 2021 · 7:00 pm
MacMillan Space Centre
Hosted by
Catherine Johnson

Venus is the only Earth-sized planet in our Solar System and yet it could not be less hospitable. How is it that two planets so similar in size, composition and distance from the Sun, can be so different? Three recently selected missions seek to address different and complementary aspects of these questions: DaVinci will provide a very detailed geochemical 'snapshot' through the atmosphere while Veritas will make a global geophysical survey. I proposed EnVision to undertake a set of complementary targeted observations of the atmosphere, surface and interior. Its goals are to locate and characterise geological activity on the surface and to track how that activity drives atmospheric chemistry, especially in the clouds, and to infer how both evolved through time and, in particular, what evidence there may be for past oceans. To do so, EnVision carries an imaging radar (VenSAR), a sounding radar (SRS), a spectrometer suite (VenSpec-U and -H) and mapper (VenSpec-M) and will additionally conduct radio science experiments (RSE). In this talk I will give a wider view of Venus, showing how our understanding of both Venus and Earth has evolved since Magellan, and what we hope to learn from EnVision and the flotilla of complementary missions heading to Venus this decade.

Speaker's Bio: 

Prof. Richard Ghail is a Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences of the Royal Holloway University of London. Richard specializes in intra-plate tectonics on Earth and Venus uses radar interferometry (InSAR) to measure fault movements on exceedingly small scales of millimetres per year. He applies the technology to monitoring the surface effects of engineering in the ground and to understanding impact of intra-plate deformation on civil engineering infrastructure, particularly tunnels. He founded the Engineering Scale Geology Research Group to develop these ground investigation techniques and advance their study. Richard proposed Envision and led the ESA science study up to its selection. The mission will apply many of the InSAR technologies and techniques developed for ground engineering to characterise and measure geological activity on Venus.

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Accessing the event:

There are 2 ways to participate:
1) Join us in-person and come to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre (1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9) for the presentation. Reserve your seat on Eventbrite, capacity is limited.
2) Zoom – join us for the presentation virtually.
LINK TO ZOOM LIVE STREAM: An email will be sent from the Eventbrite platform with a link to access the live stream 30 minutes before the event starts.
*Eventbrite tickets sales will end at 6:30pm on November 19th.*

Visiting the Space Centre:

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PLEASE NOTE: All attendees will be REQUIRED TO WEAR A FACE MASK. We will have disposable masks available if you need one. We will be requiring proof of vaccination for visitors over 12 years of age.