Ep. 694 – Mission Roll Call Part 3: Sun, Mercury, and Venus

Our journey through space missions continues. Now we move away from the Earth to the rest of the solar system. What’s out there orbiting, roving and flying on other worlds and in interplanetary space. Today we look inward and we’ll talk about the missions studying the Sun, Mercury and Venus.


(This is an automatically generated transcript)

Fraser Cain [00:01:19] Astronomy Cast. Episode 694 Mission Roll Call. Part three missions beyond the sun, Mercury, and Venus. Welcome to Astronomy Cast, our weekly facts based journey through the cosmos, where we help you understand not only what we know, but how we know what we know. I’m Fraser Keenum the publisher of Universe Today. With me is Doctor Pamela Gay, a senior scientist for the Planetary Science Institute and the director of Cosmo Quest. Hey Padma, how are you doing? 

Pamela Gay [00:01:43] I am doing well. I am continuing to attempt to recover from the beating of the gallbladder. And with that recovery, we’re starting to plan ahead. Things for Cosmic Quest. And I can now tell you that our fiscal year 2024 hang out athon is going to be November 4th, five, and six, and you’re on my list of people to reach out to this afternoon. You’re not doing a session. 

Fraser Cain [00:02:09] Yeah. Sounds good. Did you see the eclipse? 

Pamela Gay [00:02:13] I was rained on. 

Fraser Cain [00:02:14] Yeah, so? So was I, but we had this sort of crazy clouds, very kind of thick clouds that were rolling by. And every now and then, the sun would, would peek out through behind the clouds a bit until we got to this point where the cloud cover was thin enough that you could see the sun that’s clocked by the moon. It was perfect. Like it. Like if it was, if it was any less cloud cover, then you would have had to have like watched it with a solar filter. So yeah. Yeah, there was moments where you could just see with your eyes or you could see with sunglasses on, like, I know, don’t do this, do what I did until you just glance at it, you could see it and then, look away. And it was. But it was very neat to sort of see. I mean, we’ve had all this fire, and you get these situations where you can just barely see the sun through all this smoke. Yeah. And in this case, you could just barely see the eclipse through the clouds. And it was really cool. 

Pamela Gay [00:03:08] So, yeah. And now it was so bad here that, like to find the sun required using skysafari. 

Fraser Cain [00:03:14] Yeah. And we had 85% eclipse, so it was a pretty significant coverage but not yeah full. 

Pamela Gay [00:03:21] Of course you were about the same or would have been. 

Fraser Cain [00:03:25] Our journey through space missions continues. Now we move away from the Earth to the rest of the solar system. What’s out there orbiting, roving, and flying on other worlds and in interplanetary space today? We look inward and we’ll talk about the missions exploring the sun, Mercury and Venus. All right. This was challenging to get prepared for this episode. There’s a lot of missions that are looking at the sun. 

Pamela Gay [00:03:50] Yeah, I found a NASA website that listed how many total had existed and how many were active. Just the numbers and didn’t tell me what any of them were called. It didn’t link to what any of them were called. And so it was like they were very proud, but not even they wanted to list all of them. 

Fraser Cain [00:04:13] Yep, yep. And I think that’s partly because, like, what is your definition of a solar mission? If it is like sometimes looking at the sun but other times looking at other things. Is it a solar mission and, and sort of like in our minds, like we wanted to tackle this and really think about the spacecraft that were staring unflinching at the sun or were in, you know, were in these ever decreasing orbits around the sun, right, and are still active. And then the other thing that I found really amazing is that there are these relics of solar system exploration that are still functioning. 

Pamela Gay [00:04:50] Yes. 

Fraser Cain [00:04:51] And have been just keep going for decades and decades. And so you have to look pretty far back into the history, in some cases to find missions that are still operational. 

Pamela Gay [00:05:01] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:05:01] And still delivering data. It’s bonkers. 

Pamela Gay [00:05:04] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:05:04] Like, do the Voyagers count, right? Because the Voyagers are measuring the presence of. 

Pamela Gay [00:05:09] The solar wind at. 

Fraser Cain [00:05:11] The heliopause. And they were launched in 1977, but they’re not solar observing spacecraft. Or are they? Do they count? 

Pamela Gay [00:05:23] I think they’re doing space weather. 

Fraser Cain [00:05:28] Which is part of the sun. 

Pamela Gay [00:05:29] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:05:31] So don’t be surprised if we bring up spacecraft multiple times. Yeah. Because we have this conversation. And, you know, it might just be that that it’s going to be a mess. And that’s just because spacecraft have lots of jobs. 

Pamela Gay [00:05:44] Space is hard. Figuring out what space is doing is hard. Combine them all, and it’s hard to find all the spacecraft measuring the hard things in a hard way. 

Fraser Cain [00:05:53] Hard squared. But let’s just keep it simple. So let’s talk about, like, the main spacecraft when we think about observations of the sun. What are the big spacecraft that are doing this job right now? 

Pamela Gay [00:06:07] So the one that always comes to mind for me is little SDL. And and part of this is, I have to say, Camilla the Chicken, the mascot that they had back in 2009 was such a delightful thing that I will never be able to not think of this mission first. When I say go ahead. 

Fraser Cain [00:06:29] We were at a test. At a astronomy conference. Yeah. Together. And you from like, I don’t know, 100m away. So it sort of squeezed and said, Camilla, the chicken’s here. And then you rushed across the room and had some selfies done with Camilla the chicken. And I had literally no idea what was going on. Like, somehow this had missed my because I wasn’t that active on Twitter. And I think this is just like I had no concept. 

Pamela Gay [00:07:00] It was it was a YouTube series that was promoted through Twitter, where prior to the launch of the mission, they really wanted to engage people in understanding the solar cycle. And they had a little rendering of the satellite and they had Camilla the Chicken, a squeaky toy that that was the mascot to SDO. So they had all of these little videos explaining the sun, and it was Camilla and little SDO, and it was brilliant. Like they apparently had fans of the mission sending them clothing for Camilla to wear. Brilliant piece of science education because I think no one will forget solar cycle. No one will forget the mission, no one will forget that you have to look in multiple, wavelengths and high resolution continually. And the other thing was this mission came out about the same time that 4K televisions came out, and they quite brilliantly released all of the videos they put together of the series of images in 4K. So you could go into BestBuy and they’d be trying to sell all of their brand new 4K television sets using this dramatic and amazing imagery of the sun from Asda. 

Fraser Cain [00:08:29] And so if you remember those giant full disk images of the sun in, in some cases in funny colors, like they were green or they were purple. 

Pamela Gay [00:08:40] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:08:41] So that’s histo. And so what was its job or what is its job. 

Pamela Gay [00:08:45] Well, it it continues to grow. Since 2010, it has been out hanging out at the Lagrange point between the Earth and the sun, taking fairly high speed, extremely high resolution images of the sun at a variety of different resolutions. Looking to try and understand the connections between when this happens lower down in the atmosphere. This happens further out in the atmosphere. And this is what the corona does. Since SDO has gone up, it’s almost become a joke that every year to every other year, someone comes out with a new explanation or a refined explanation for how the solar corona got to be so hot. That is, based on these images that are showing magnetic reconnection, are showing these plasma spirals, its its ability to capture the activity going on at different temperatures, in very high resolution, at different depths in the sun is is absolutely amazing. 

Fraser Cain [00:09:54] And then you partner that with the with Soho. 

Pamela Gay [00:09:56] Yes. And Soho is is another one that’s out there. I’m trying to remember what its orbit is. It’s also out I. 

Fraser Cain [00:10:06] Think it’s also L1. 

Pamela Gay [00:10:08] Yeah. Yeah. So so Soho has been out there since 1995. Soho was the O.G. Solar Observer that it’s looking at an even larger area of sky so that as you’re looking at its images, you’re able to see Mercury or Venus going through and see that Mercury actually has an iron tail, which is just really cool and confusing. It has been used to spot comets left and right. And so we get the external environment as. It’s affected by the sun. We get the external environment committing suicide into the sun. In the case of some of those comets. 

Fraser Cain [00:10:52] Right. The sun. 

Pamela Gay [00:10:52] And and then we see, like the extreme outer parts of the corona. 

Fraser Cain [00:10:59] And Soho is like the most productive comet hunter ever built. It’s only thousands of comets. 

Pamela Gay [00:11:09] Very few of them have come back around. 

Fraser Cain [00:11:12] Yeah, it’s found them. It’s found them. And then watched them die. Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:11:16] And and it was one of the first missions that caused people to, like, start figuring out how to write scripts to scrape the internet in order to contribute to science, where Soho was releasing their images on a daily cadence, I think. And there were folks that wrote this was back in the day of Perl scripts to go grab all of those images, download them locally, and then they would flip through them looking for these comments to report. And then people started figuring out how to do this with AI and essentially the desire to discover comets, even if they’re only going to live for a few more hours, is so great. That led to the innovation of technologies. 

Fraser Cain [00:12:04] And so, you know, those spacecraft are hovering at this point that sort of in between the Earth and the sun and always dropping their gaze at the sun. Yeah. So the tech with the stereo spacecraft. 

Pamela Gay [00:12:15] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:12:15] Because that was pretty great idea. 

Pamela Gay [00:12:18] Yeah. And then stereo Bay had a very bad reboot. So stereo A and B are ahead and behind the Earth such that their orbits are just slightly different in size, where stereo ahead ends up creeping further and further ahead of the Earth in its orbit, and stereo behind. Stereo B is continually lagging behind us in orbit. And I never knew that. Yeah, well, that’s what. 

Fraser Cain [00:12:46] The A and the B means. 

Pamela Gay [00:12:48] Is, I don’t know. But that’s how I remember which one is which. That’s perfect. Yeah. Yeah. I have no idea if they did that on purpose. 

Fraser Cain [00:12:56] Oh, my God, that’s so good. Thank you. All right. Please continue. 

Pamela Gay [00:12:59] Yes. All right. So stereo ahead and behind the idea was that from their different perspectives, they would literally like the two eyes on our face allow a stereo perspective on the sun. The way I have a stereo perspective on the camera I’m looking at. And then as they got further and further out, they’d actually start to be able to see parts of the sun that weren’t visible to us and definitely weren’t visible to each other, allowing us to see a progressively larger and larger fraction of the sun. And then came the terrible period of time where we realized they were going to be crossing. But what we didn’t realize we knew well in advance. We knew when we launched the spacecraft this would be happening. They had to pass behind the sun. And the plan was that they’d go into a special sleep mode and then wake up and go, hey, Earth, I’m awake, I’m awake, I’m awake, and we’d be able to regain control. And we initially hadn’t thought they’d live that long. Common problem NASA really is better at what they do than they are planned to be, which I approve of. So so they decided to send some software patches and stuff to stereo B, and it kind of shut it down and came back. And there have been a few weird moments where, like, amateur radio operators have been like, there’s this pin, what is this pin? We have detected a ping and they’ve realized this is stereo B, and we’ve gone to try and get fresh control of stereo B, and it looked like we were going to have fresh control of stereo B, and the stereo B was like, nope, not going to talk to you anymore. 

Fraser Cain [00:14:54] That is like the worst nightmare I think about. I, I think about what’s involved to send a software update to a spacecraft, and you think about all the times that you, you know, you run computers and you install a new patch of software and your computer breaks. Yeah. And you’re like, great. And then you have to go and like, reinstall the operating system or whatever. And like, I’ve been through times where I had to drive down to a web server farm to physically locate the computer that the university was running on and stick in a thumb drive to get it back. Operation sort of in the before the cloud computing days. 

Pamela Gay [00:15:31] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:15:32] And so imagine, you know, you send your pictures off for a day to your spacecraft, like there’s no physically turning it off and turning it back on again. You have to trust that it’s going to recover properly. And I am always just shocked that it works. And I guess every now and then it doesn’t quite work. 

Pamela Gay [00:15:53] And it’s super frustrating because like. They know that stereo B is out there, and it might be recoverable if we could only figure out how to get it to listen. 

Fraser Cain [00:16:10] Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:16:11] But. It’s it’s it’s a ghost out there. There. There are people who talk about ghost ships on the ocean that sometimes appear in stereo. B is the ghost mission that sometimes appears in people’s radio data, which sounds like. 

Fraser Cain [00:16:30] A science fiction story at some point where. 

Pamela Gay [00:16:33] Someone needs to be. 

Fraser Cain [00:16:34] Yeah, where someone is like, you know, desperately needs help and then is receiving a strange signal and it turns out it’s stereo and stereo, I don’t know. It’s like bootstrapped an artificial intelligence system through its attempts to restore contact with Earth. And it’s there to help you prevent a blast from the sun or something, I don’t know. So there’s a spacecraft, and I don’t know if you were thinking about this, but we sort of slipped through the cracks. And this is the discover satellite, which is also at the L1 point. 

Pamela Gay [00:17:02] And looks at Earth as well. 

Fraser Cain [00:17:04] It’s primarily looking at the Earth. Yeah. And and I use this as the just the best example as when people go, well, there are no pictures of Earth like the whole picture of Earth. I’m like, what about the discovered satellite? 

Pamela Gay [00:17:14] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:17:15] Like there is a satellite that is taking pictures of the entire sphere of Earth every few minutes. That’s not good enough for you, but. 

Pamela Gay [00:17:24] And got some amazing pictures of the eclipse going across North and South America. 

Fraser Cain [00:17:30] Right? Yes. Yeah. Well, he sees all this kind of stuff. Yeah, yeah, but it also is recording, you know, it has back to the sun, but it is recording the solar wind and, and and you know, experiences when mass ejections go past. 

Pamela Gay [00:17:44] So and that’s really one of the key things about having these missions where they are, it’s, it’s one of the really good pieces of research SDO was able to do, because you see the light of the the solar flare and then send the information back at the speed of light, but then you have to wait until the particles get to you and then calculate how fast the particles are moving and how dangerous they’re going to be. But because SDO can send information about those particles back to Earth at the speed of light, it gives satellite operators and NASA Johnson time to figure out what to do with satellites and what to do with astronauts. 

Fraser Cain [00:18:27] And and this is like one of the big challenges, like, this is what the future of space weather prediction is, is going to look like, both in terms of recognizing, okay, yeah, the proton count is increasing. We are seeing a solar storm. Everybody take cover versus this is harmless and getting as much notices as humanly possible. So I think there’s like one last what I’m going to call legacy mission that we should talk about before we move on to, to the three new spacecraft that are flying and that so the Japanese, Hindi, yet another solar observing spacecraft. 

Pamela Gay [00:19:04] And this one isn’t just hanging out, at L1 the way so many of them do. This one is actually in low Earth orbit, in a sun synchronous orbit where it’s watching the sun locally, sending us information. And it’s just been hanging out doing this since 2006, and it’s covering a slightly different portion of the spectrum. And yeah, it’s it’s just good to have all these different perspectives. 

Fraser Cain [00:19:40] So just a couple of years ago we got the launch of a new fleet, the beginning of the launch of a new fleet of spacecraft. So let’s talk about the these most recent missions. 

Pamela Gay [00:19:55] So Parker Solar Probe, I think, is the one that has the best press coverage, for lack of a better term, in Parker Solar Probe originally it’s the solar probe because you don’t name it after a human who’s standing there and tell you, no, it works. Actually, they did name that one like two weeks before they launched it. And they. 

Fraser Cain [00:20:19] I’m not sure when they when they named it, but he got to watch like. 

Pamela Gay [00:20:22] Yeah he got to he was alive and watching. 

Fraser Cain [00:20:25] Yeah. He’s like one of the first times that somebody was was around and alive for their spacecraft launch where they’re named after dead people. So yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:20:33] Yeah I think I now remember that we were like, oh, don’t blow up. He’s standing. 

Fraser Cain [00:20:38] There. He’s standing right there. Yeah. He entered his honor and he’s right there. Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:20:44] Yeah. No death, no death. Parker Solar Probe is is one of the missions that is designed to get up close and personal with the sun. It is getting increasingly closer orbits using a series of gravitational assists with. Originally, it was using pretty much the whole inner solar system. Now it’s mostly using Venus for its gravitational assists, and it has a magnificent heat shield on it that allows it to go in, sample the environment around it, measure the magnetic fields, measure the temperatures, all of these different things, and then sail back out. 

Fraser Cain [00:21:28] It’s, it’s it’s an interesting idea. Like instead of putting the spacecraft directly into a very hazardous orbit, you put it in this very elongated elliptical orbit so that it makes this flyby gets close. But as it gets close, it’s also going incredibly fast. And so it he’s out of that range again relatively quickly. And so they’ve they’ve done the math for what is like the optimal amount of time that you have to spend in this very dangerous environment, the maximum heating that you can handle. And then and then the spacecraft spends the rest of its time recovering from this close call, with the sun getting all its affairs in order, sending all its data home, cooling off. And then it does another plunge into the sun, and each time gets a little bit closer and a little bit closer. They’re about halfway through their close flybys at this point. 

Pamela Gay [00:22:20] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:22:21] And each time they break the record like they just they just crossed it just about three weeks ago. 

Pamela Gay [00:22:27] Yeah. That’s that’s right. 

Fraser Cain [00:22:28] Yeah. Yeah. And it was going like it’s the fastest spacecraft ever sent by humanity to have ludicrous speeds already. And yet it’s going to get still closer and closer and see more and more detail on the sun as it gets closer. 

Pamela Gay [00:22:42] And it’s doing amazing research at Venus as well, like, it’s the mission that helped us figure out that Venus probably doesn’t have lightning. So one less thing to kill you at Venus, right? And so I just love the fact that they recognize it can’t stay in the sun all the time. That would be bad. Not even the enterprise can do that. But as it comes in and out, they can take advantage of all that other time to try and do some ancillary science. 

Fraser Cain [00:23:14] Yeah. I’d like to talk about then the other spacecraft that is getting closer and closer to the sun and giving a different perspective, the on that Solar Orbiter. 

Pamela Gay [00:23:24] And I hate the name of these two missions because they’re just too close. I am determined to forget Solar Orbiter because Parker Solar Probe is a solar orbiter. That’s how my brain wants to work. So Solar Orbiter is in a bit more inclined as an orbit. So while Parker Solar Probe is mostly sticking to the plane of the solar System, Solar Orbiter is going to allow us to see the northern and southern extremes of the sun. And this is something we haven’t had a lot of use of in the past. It doesn’t have nearly the press coverage. And so mostly I’m sitting here going, we need the papers, we need the papers. 

Fraser Cain [00:24:07] So, so my perspective is the opposite really? Yeah. So I’ve been seeing a lot more research coming from the Solar Orbiter than Parker Solar Probe. When I think about like there was the discovery of these nano flares on the sun, and it seems to me that they’re going to solve the corona heating problem. 

Pamela Gay [00:24:26] That was Solar Orbiter. 

Fraser Cain [00:24:27] You’re right. There’s interesting magnetic reconnections or something that just came out just like a week ago. We covered I think we covered on Universe Today. 

Pamela Gay [00:24:34] I returned to my their names are too close to that. 

Fraser Cain [00:24:37] Yeah yeah yeah. And so and I think the difference is that is like the Solar Orbiter has, is sort of already in its science regime. Like it hasn’t reached the the point where it’s starting to peer at the poles of the sun, but it’s already doing a lot of the work that it was intended to do. While with Parker, it’s really about getting as close as possible before it can really kick in the science that it was designed to do. Exactly. Yeah. So I think Solar Orbiter has been doing a lot. And what’s great is to see them all working together with some of the Earth based observatories as well. 

Pamela Gay [00:25:12] Well, swarm, which is in a new set of missions from NASA that’s in low Earth orbit. And swarm is out there with A, B and C looking at how solar activity affects the Earth’s magnetic field. So it’s technically solar, but it’s looking at how the sun does us in. 

Fraser Cain [00:25:37] So there’s one final mission that just launched about a month ago, and that’s the, India’s Aditya L1 also going to the L1 lagoon. 

Pamela Gay [00:25:46] Yeah. It’s a good place to observe the sun from. 

Fraser Cain [00:25:50] Yeah. And so we’re we’re waiting for it to reach its final position. But again, it’s going to be observing the corona sphere, the corona studying particle environment in space like another eye on the sun, which is which is great. And this is India’s first solar mission. So they’re kind of covering all their bases. They landed on the moon. They’ve gone to Mars. They’re observing the sun. It’s it’s great to watch all of the new missions that India is putting out. 

Pamela Gay [00:26:20] And the other day I just mentioned to someone in passing that, yeah, China is is the leader in launches, by country right now. If if you ignore Starlink’s and. The response I got back was, well, I don’t talk politics. And it’s just like, no, this isn’t political. This is just a fact. We live in a war rocket now. 

Fraser Cain [00:26:45] Are launching from China than other countries. 

Pamela Gay [00:26:49] And then we have India coming in. Japan has been becoming more and more of a leader for the past 20 years. And when we have more nations launching more rockets to do science, it’s like spacecraft data for you, spacecraft data fuze, and it just opens up so many more research topics that we couldn’t otherwise do, because these missions, they’re pretty careful to not overlap what they do identically. And so this gives us a greater richness of questions that we can ask and explore. And it’s really awesome to see more and more nations getting into the space science game. 

Fraser Cain [00:27:35] All right. So we’re going to talk about the missions that are going to Mercury and Venus. And we don’t have a lot of time left. But that’s fine because we’re not going to need it because there isn’t much. 

Pamela Gay [00:27:48] It’s true. 

Fraser Cain [00:27:50] All right. We’ve only got a few minutes left. So let’s talk about all of the missions that are at Mercury right now. 

Pamela Gay [00:27:56] None. Although Bethel periodically does flybys now. So that’s that’s a thing. 

Fraser Cain [00:28:02] Right. So the European Space Agency has their BepiColombo mission. It is on its way to reach Mercury. It does flybys. It’s expected to get there in 2026. And we actually just got a science paper that came out last week, late last week talking about on the last pass, they were able to measure the magnetosphere around Mercury and how it interacts with the solar wind, and that there are these structures that we have around in Earth’s magnetosphere, but are highly localized into this one little spot of Mercury’s magnetosphere. And so the question is like, why is this is being suppressed across the entire planet? It’s only showing up in this one spot. What’s with that? So yeah. But yeah, we’re like, we’re waiting for it to finally arrive at Mercury. 

Pamela Gay [00:28:49] And it’s two missions. It’s a Jackson submission and an Isa mission that are ride sharing their way to this little planet. And then they split off and they do slightly different science because again, complementary missions. 

Fraser Cain [00:29:03] Yeah. So so that’s Mercury. And what about Venus? Come on. Like Venus is a virtual twin of Earth. It is the same size and mass as Earth. It has a thick atmosphere. It could have been habitable once. Were there oceans on Venus? There should be a constellation of missions orbiting this planet, scouring through the atmosphere, landing on its surface. Now, tell me everything that’s about right now. 

Pamela Gay [00:29:27] There is one Japanese mission that you can pronounce better than I can. It begins with the letter A. 

Fraser Cain [00:29:33] Akatsuki. 

Pamela Gay [00:29:35] Thank you, thank you. I I I love what this little mission is doing. It’s just casually watching the storms it’s been able to piece together. There are these weird black spots in Venus’s atmosphere that come and go, and it’s been working to try and understand these little bits of organic soot. It’s keeping an eye on things, but it doesn’t have the radar to do the mapping of the surface. It doesn’t have a lander. And to get to any of that, we have to hope that the suite of missions that is currently planned are able to do their job. I believe the first one to launch is going to be a Rocket Lab mission. This is a little private, basically cancer to Venus. 

Fraser Cain [00:30:29] Are you talking about a mission that’s going to happen in the future? 

Pamela Gay [00:30:32] I am a rocket lab in there. Huggable. 

Fraser Cain [00:30:38] Yeah. So, I mean, the thing that’s interesting about Akatsuki is that it has. So, I mean, it has some beautiful pictures that we’re that you’ve probably seen if you’ve seen very recent images of, of Venus, you know, of all the cloud tops. And that’s from that mission. Yeah. And like, we know that the surface temperature of Venus is sort of the same no matter where you go, if you go to the poles, if you daytime, nighttime, it’s all the same. Yeah. But the question is what’s happening in the upper atmosphere because the planet atmosphere is decoupled from the surface. And so while the planet may take like almost a year to turn, once on its axis, the atmosphere is blowing around every couple of days, and the dayside is very different from the nightside. And so the question is like, what is the role? What’s the interaction between the atmosphere in space and the planet surface? And these are a lot of the kinds of jobs being done by the space. But it is like one spacecraft doing one kind of job. And there, as I said, should be a fleet, a grand fleet of spacecraft studying Venus in the same way that we have missions at Mars and even Jupiter. Like a small spacecraft, Jupiter has another one on its way, but two on its way when Clipper launches. But yeah, this is this. This is sad. And and like, I’m no fan of Venus. Like, I’ve been on record saying we should just push Venus into the sun, but but I think we should study it first. 

Pamela Gay [00:32:12] Yes, exactly. 

Fraser Cain [00:32:14] All right. We made it. So I think next week we’ll get to the moon and onward. 

Pamela Gay [00:32:20] The moon and minor planets is the goal for next week. 

Fraser Cain [00:32:22] That sounds good. Yeah, that sounds great. 

Pamela Gay [00:32:25] That’s a spacecraft. I know. 

Fraser Cain [00:32:27] I know life. All right. Hey, family. 

Pamela Gay [00:32:29] Thank you. And thank you to all of our patrons who allow us to do this. This week, I’d like to thank Jeremy Kerwin, Stuart Mills, slug, Harold Barton Hagan, Matthew horstman, Kimberly Reich, Georgie Ivanov, Scott bieber, Jim schooler, Marco Rossi, David gates, Alex Cohen, Justin Proctor, Claudia mastroianni, Scott cone, disaster. Gina. Conception. Flaco. Mathias. Hayden, the big squish. Squash. Tim. Gerrish, Gregory. Singleton, Tim. McMeekin, Jeff. Wilson. Cooper, Paul. De Disney, Benjamin. Mueller, Ninja. Nick. Kenneth. Ryan. Juran. Seagrove, Scott. Briggs, and Bruce Amazon. Thank you all so much. 

Fraser Cain [00:33:17] Thanks, everyone, and we’ll see you next week. 

Pamela Gay [00:33:19] Bye bye. Astronomy cast is a joint product of Universe Today and the Planetary Science Institute. Astronomy cast is released under a Creative Commons Attribution license. So love it, share it, and remix it, but please credit it to our hosts, Fraser Cain and Doctor Pamela Gay. You can get more information on today’s show topic on our website. Astronomy. Cars.com. This episode was brought to you. Thanks to our generous patrons on Patreon. If you want to help keep the show going, please consider joining our community at Patreon.com Slash Astronomy Cast. Not only do you help us pay our producers a fair wage, you will also get special access to content right in your inbox and invites to online events. We are so grateful to all of you who have joined our Patreon community already. Anyways, keep looking up. This has been Astronomy Cast.