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Lofted Environmental and Atmospheric Venus Sensors (LEAVES)

Jeffrey Balcerski
Lofted Environmental and Atmospheric Venus Sensors (LEAVES)


The LEAVES (Lofted Environmental and Atmospheric VEnus Sensors) concept is an ultra-lightweight, passively-lofted, and inexpensive atmospheric sensor package that is designed to withstand the harsh Venus atmosphere, but which also provides a generic platform for in situ sampling of any planetary body with a prominent atmosphere. This architecture is intended to provide high spatial and temporal resolution during atmospheric sampling by operating in parallel, rather than a more traditional serial approach By removing the need for active propulsion or guidance (as with aircraft) or inflation media and buoyancy control (as with balloons), the LEAVES units require very little infrastructure. Mission science objectives are achieved through the deployment of many identical units over a wide geographic area, cost savings are realized through reusable production lines and commercially-available components, and operational resilience is increased through parallel operations. Moreover, this architecture is exceptionally well suited as a secondary payload as it requires few control resources from ground stations, poses very little risk to a primary payload, and returns data only for the duration of their slow descent through the atmosphere.

2018 Phase I and Phase II Selections