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Discovery Venera surface: Atmosphere geochemistry experiments mission conceptThe phenomenal increase in our understanding of Venus provided by the Magellan Mission has raised a series of focused, fundamental scientific questions about the geochemistry of the surface of Venus, the nature of the lower atmosphere, and the relationship of the lower atmosphere and surface. First, surface geochemical measurements from the Venera/Vega spacecraft showed that widely spaced regions of the venusian plains are made of basalts; thus basalts are significant and may be the only component of the venusian crust. But we lack information on the composition of several key elements of Venus geology: (1) Tessera terrain (which may be outcrops of continental-like non-basaltic crustal material) and steep-sided domes/festoons are promising candidates for non-basaltic geochemically evolved material. The composition of the lower part of the Venusian crust is unknown: however, ejecta from large venusian craters provides us with the possibility of sampling this material on the surface; (2) bulk chemistry (structure and dynamics) of the venusian atmosphere are known. The altitude profiles of water vapor content and minor admixtures relevant to redox conditions in the lower atmosphere (less than 20 km altitude) remain uncertain. Lack of that knowledge means that we do not understand the fine chemical structure of the main mass of the Venusian atmosphere; and (3) thermodynamic models predict that igneous materials on the surface of Venus should react with gases of the venusian atmosphere. But because the water vapor content and redox conditions in the lower atmosphere are not well known, we do not understand the nature of venusian weathering: oxidation, sulfatization, carbonatization, and hydration. The answers to these questions are critical to the understanding of Venus, the most Earth-like of the terrestrial planets.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Surkov, Yuri A. (Academy of Sciences USSR, Moscow., United States)
Head, James W. (Brown Univ. Providence, RI., United States)
Kremnev, Roald (Babakin Engineering and Research Center Moscow, Russia)
Nock, K. T. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-Fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 3: N-Z
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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