Readying spacecraft to surf Venus’ atmosphere

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ESA’s EnVision mission to Venus will perform optical, spectral and radar mapping of Earth’s sister planet. But before getting down to work the van-sized spacecraft needs to ‘aerobrake’ – lowering its orbit with thousands of passages through the planet’s hot, thick atmosphere for up to two years. A unique ESA facility is currently testing candidate spacecraft materials to check they can safely withstand this challenging process of atmospheric surfing.

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