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M Allen (JPL/Caltech), G Chin (NASA/GSFC), VESPER Science Team
The VEnus Sounder for Planetary ExploRation (VESPER) is a proposed Discovery Mission. The VESPER mission will provide the first comprehensive and synoptic study of Venus with sufficient sensitivity and duration to test major models of the dynamics, chemistry and circulation throughout the Venus atmosphere. The VESPER Orbiter employs a state-of-the-art heterodyne spectrometer originally developed for astrophysical study of interstellar clouds. The primary instrument is a heterodyne receiver, the Submillimeter Limb Sounder (SLS), whose extremely high abundance sensitivity and high spectral resolution allows the detection of trace gases while simultaneously measuring wind velocities for key constituents above the clouds. The Deep Atmosphere Spectral Camera (DASC) will make measurements below the clouds to the surface with spectral and spatial images of upwelling thermal emission taken from 1.0 to 2.5 microns. A two-color Near UltraViolet Imager (NUVI) will track the dynamics of the upper cloud deck. X-band radio occultation using the spacecraft transponder will attain high spatial resolution temperature profiles.