Scientists Want To Send An Inflatable Aircraft To Venus

Now if there's one thing that's missing from spaceflight, it's airships. Thankfully Northrop Grumman wants to change that as part of NASA's New Frontiers competition by sending a large inflatable aircraft to Venus.

The ambitious Venus Atmospheric Manoeuvrable Platform (VAMP) would be able to cruise above Venus' surface at an altitude of around 34 miles for up to a full year.

With a 151-foot wingspan the aircraft would be able to carry up to 440 pounds of scientific equipment designed to analyse atmospheric composition.

NASA's New Frontiers program isn't just about creating pretty concepts that sound futuristic. Recent alumni of the program include the New Horizons spacecraft which is currently hurtling towards Pluto.

If Northrop Grumman wants to be in with a chance of getting their aircraft to Venus they'll need to create a working prototype over a period of four years and then categorically prove to NASA that it would work.

Four everyone's sake, we really hope they do.