All about Sukrayaan 1: ISRO’s mission to Venus


A little over a month after achieving a historic milestone with the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan 3 on the Moon’s south pole, and then launching the nation’s first solar mission Aditya-L1, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has shifted its focus to Venus. ISRO chairman S Somanath announced on Tuesday that the Venus mission, often informally referred to as Shukrayaan-1, is making progress. The mission has been configured, and several payloads are currently in the development phase.


“Venus is a very interesting planet. It also has an atmosphere. Its atmosphere is so thick. The atmospheric pressure is 100 times that of Earth and it is full of acids… Earth could be one day Venus. I don’t know. Maybe 10,000 years later we (Earth) change our characteristics. Earth was never like this. It was not a habitable place long long back,” Somanath said.

What is ‘Shukrayaan 1’?

  • The name ‘Shukrayaan – 1’ is a combination of two words ‘Shukra’, meaning Venus, and ‘Yaana’, meaning craft, in Sanskrit.
  • The idea of ‘Shukrayaan -1 was born in 2012. In that year, the ISRO sought payload proposals from research institutes.
  • The primary objective of the mission is to conduct a comprehensive study of Venus, often referred to as “Earth’s twin.” This includes examining both the surface and atmosphere of Venus, as well as analyzing its geological composition.
  • NASA has expressed doubt about the possibility of life on Venus at this time. Nonetheless, some scientists have not ruled out the potential existence of microbes in the upper atmosphere of Venus, where the pressure is more akin to Earth’s surface.
  • Shukrayaan-1 seems to be progressing, but ISRO has not yet disclosed important details such as the launch date and other key aspects of the project.

Recent missions to Venus include European Space Agency’s Venus Express, which orbited the planet from 2006 until 2016, and Japan’s Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter, which has been in orbit since 2016. Additionally, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has conducted multiple flybys of Venus. In February 2022, NASA announced that the spacecraft had successfully captured its first visible light images of Venus’ surface during its flyby in February 2021.

(With inputs from agencies)

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