Venus: Exploring Earth’s Sibling Planet

RAS October Specialist Discussion
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A Royal Astronomical Society Specialist Discussion Meeting, organised by Colin Wilson (Oxford), Richard Ghail (Imperial)


Venus is our most Earth-like twin, from a geological standpoint: it is very similar in size and probably in bulk composition, and it is very likely to be geologically active today. Our knowledge of Venus geology is based almost entirely on the Magellan orbiter’s radar instrument, designed over three decades ago; modern radar instruments offer vastly improved capabilities. 

The UK-led EnVision radar orbiter is now one of three finalists in ESA’s M5 mission selection process, and carries a suite of instruments including a UK-led radar that will offer far higher spatial and radiometric resolution, flexible operation modes including polarimetry and spotlight high resolution imagery, and cm-scale change detection using differential interferometry. Together with a subsurface sounder and a UV-IR spectrometry suite, this mission offers unprecedented opportunities to establish Venus’ current and past geological state.

The science case is broad: to measure current volcanic, seismic, atmospheric and climatic activity; deduce its geological history to understand how and why Venus and Earth became so different; identify volatile sources and sinks; and infer its interior structure and dynamics. This meeting is the opportune moment for anyone with an interest in Earth and/or planetary science to find out more about the mission and how to contribute to its science goals and ultimate success. More information about EnVision can be found at

UPDATE: The programme for this meeting can be found here

Admission to Specialist Discussion Meetings is free to RAS Fellows, £15 for non-fellows (£5 for students), cash or cheque only, collected at the registration desk.  Admission to the subsequent Open (Monthly A&G) Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society is open to all, at no charge

Venue Address

The Royal Astronomical Society,Burlington House


51.5085763, -0.13960799999995