Earthquake Detecting Balloons

Researchers, together with the help of the United States Department of Energy have recently set off a massive chemical explosion hundreds and hundreds of meters below the surface of the desert of Mojave. In case you’re wondering how big, 50 tons big.

The artificial earthquake that was created enabled scientists at NASA to look into special earthquake sensors that hung from balloons filled with helium. These balloons were floating above the desert in order to help NASA eventually create a similar system.

The system is hoped to take on seismic measurements from above the surface of Venus, and to find out more information about the internal structure of the planet.

The idea has been around since 2014, however a new concept known as the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept has said that we may one day be able to go to Venus on 30 day long missions on vehicles that are even lighter than air.

Balloons, rather than rovers were chosen since it’s close to impossible to land a rover on Venus, due to the dense atmosphere, consisting mainly of carbon dioxide, that is so incredibly hot, it could melt literally anything.

The outer atmosphere is a lot cooler, and therefore possible to experiment from.  A balloon floating 50 kilometers above the surface of the planet could detect seismic activity in that the environment is highly dense, making it easier for the waves to travel from the surface to the balloon.

However, there is still a great deal about Venus that we have yet to discover, including whether or not there is even seismic activity.  Furthermore, we are also not yet sure if the explosion results will actually translate over to the environment of Venus.

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