Who said it was boring?
Flame: It's rather warm on Mercury, however not as hot as on Venus.
NASA's Messenger has returned the first photograph taken by a spacecraft circling Mercury, a tad under two weeks after it went into orbit around the solar system's innermost planet. Messenger image of Mercury. Pic: NASA The agency explains* that the snap was taken at 09:20 GMT on 29 March, and over the next six hours, …
This is truly amazing - but it would be even more so if we were to send a probe to the surface of venus that could last longer than 40 minutes. Appreciate the atmospheric pressures and temp on Venus makes this a challenge but surely it would be worth it?
The Russian probe that was there in ('78?) lasted all of 20 some odd minutes before dying. I would think we could do better than this now.
Data: There once was a woman from Venus, whose body was shaped like a—
Picard: DATA! Ahna-tha tyme, puhr-haps!
LaForge/Ryker/Crusher/Others on bridge watch laugh, knowingly... while Data fails to immediately realize the trouble or inappropriateness of his attempt at humour...
(STTNG: The Naked Now)
I'm not sure about "now" versus "then", since I can't think of too many advances that would help.
The pressure isn't a problem, if you can deliver enough weight to the planet's surface. We know how to build strong things. The main problem is the temperature: 450-500 Celsius. Almost none of your instruments will work at that temperature and keeping them significantly cooler on a permanent basis is going to be Hard. Oh, and any solution also has to withstand chemical attack from the boiling hot sulphuric acid they have there instead of rain.
Your best bet might be to evacuate the interior of a transparent (glass?) strong-box and magnetically levitate the instruments in the middle, but this obviously restricts the range of instruments that you can deploy. (No magnetometers, for example.)
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