Long-duration Venus lander for seismic and atmospheric science

Tibor Kremic, Richard Ghail, Martha Gilmore, Gary Hunter, Walter Kiefer, Sanjay Limaye, Michael Pauken, Carol Tolbert, Colin Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An exciting and novel science mission concept called Seismic and Atmospheric Exploration of Venus (SAEVe) has been developed which enables a three-order magnitude increase in expected surface life (120 Earth days) over what has been achieved to date. This opens up significant new science possibilities such as beginning to understand the seismicity of Venus and insight into its near surface weather. Other data collected include near surface energy balance and atmospheric chemical composition variability. In addition to these important science contributions, SAEVe also serves as a critical pathfinder for more sophisticated landers in the future. For example, first order seismic measurements by SAEVe will allow future missions to deliver better seismometers and systems to support the yet unknown frequency and magnitude of Venus events. SAEVe is focused on science that can be realized with low data volume instruments and most benefit for temporal operations. The entire mission architecture and operations maximize science while minimizing energy usage and physical size and mass. In fact, the entire SAEVe system including its protective entry system (and the orbiter elements to receive SAEVe’s data) is estimated to be around 45 kg and approximately 0.6 m diameter at the widest point of the aersohell. These features allow a small sat like SAEVe to be realtively cost effective and be easily integrated onto a Venus orbiter mission. The technologies needed to implement SAEVe are currently in development by several funded activities. Component level work is ongoing under NASA’s HOTTech program but most directly SAEVe is “under development” by the LLISSE project. LLISSE, which stands for Long Lived Insitu Solar System Explorer, is a NASA project to develop a small Venus lander that will operate on the surface of Venus for 60 days capturing meteorology, radiance, and atmospheric chemistry variability. LLISSE is developing a full function engineering model of a Venus lander with slightly fewer instruments and 60 day life goal, but otherwise is essentially all the core capabilities of SAEVe thus greatly reducing the technology risk to its completion. The SAEVe long duration Venus lander promises exciting new science and is an ideal complimentary element to many future Venus orbiter missions being proposed or planned today.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104961
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Early online date10 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Lander
  • Long-duration
  • Meteorology
  • SAEVe
  • Seismology
  • Venus

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