Last week, astronomers published a study with far-reaching implications for the search for life beyond Earth, revealing the phosphine gas found in Venus’ atmosphere. For rocket lab, the discovery is just as timely as it has demonstrated impressive commercial launch capabilities in a short period of time. < / P > < p > new atlas recently interviewed Peter Beck, chief executive of rocket lab, about the company’s future plans and the machinery he plans to use to explore Venus. Since it first entered orbit in early 2018, rocket lab has set off a wave of space games. Its electron rocket has put satellites into orbit for NASA, DARPA and the U.S. air force, and the company has recently begun testing recycling methods to achieve the first stage recovery of the booster. < p > < p > rocket lab also quickly put the launch pad failure in July behind, and resumed operations in August, and then launched its own built-in satellite for the first time at the beginning of this month. The photo spacecraft is designed to provide navigation and communication support services for small satellites, and can also be used as a fully functional spacecraft to perform its own interstellar missions. Recently, rocket lab has won a contract to launch NASA’s capstone mission, and its photon platform will be used to put a CubeSat into lunar orbit. < / P > < p > at the same time, the rocket lab team has been quietly preparing for the Venus exploration mission. So when scientists announced last week that there might be signs of life on Venus, the rocket lab team found that its project was particularly suitable for exploring the mysteries of Venus. < / P > < p > Beck: for a long time, it has been assumed that some form of life is likely to exist in the atmosphere of Venus, especially around 50 km (altitude), because it is relatively temperate. It was a great progress to find some signs of life in that area. < / P > < p > Beck: I’ve always been fascinated by Venus. As a child, I spent a lot of time observing it through telescopes, because in many ways, Venus is really one of the most earth like planets in the solar system, it’s the same size, and it has a very large atmosphere. < / P > < p > a relatively short time ago, at least within the Milky way, Venus looked more like earth than it is now. Venus is like the sister of the earth, but something goes wrong. It’s the sister of the earth, but climate change has disappeared completely. So in this respect, there’s a lot to learn from Venus to make sure we don’t follow the same path, and there’s a lot of incredible discoveries. < / P > < p > there are three recognized places in the solar system where the environment is at least likely to breed some kind of life. As I mentioned, the Venus cloud has always been considered one of them. It’s also very attractive to me. When we won NASA’s moon landing contract a year ago, I said to the team, “let’s not just build a spacecraft that can reach the moon, but build a spacecraft that can also reach Venus. Because if we can get to the moon, then it won’t be so difficult to get to Venus. So we’ve been working on our own personal mission to Venus, and it’s been a while now, and it’s really great that people are more interested in the planet, and there are some new discoveries that give us more motivation to go there. ” < / P > < p > new atlas: so on your personal level, it’s obviously exciting, but as CEO of rocket lab, what’s your motivation to go to Venus? Can you talk about it from a business perspective? < / P > < p > Beck: on a personal level, we were studying Venus before it was widely noticed. The intention here is always a private task. From a commercial point of view, what we’re trying to create here is a platform that can really afford and really quickly explore other planets and other celestial bodies in the solar system. Instead of going to the planet once a decade and spending billions of dollars, we need to iterate science faster than that. < / P > < p > the platform we created here will send NASA to the moon, then our own mission, and then other missions. This platform is low-cost, fast and powerful, and can promote the development of planetary and astrological science. < / P > < p > Beck: Yes, that’s right. Our first photo satellite was launched on the electron a few weeks ago, and the photon lunar, which is basically the same spacecraft as the Venus probe, will be launched early next year to go to the moon for NASA. Then 2023 is the best window to reach Venus in a short time. < / P > < p > new atlas: I’d like to know what other technical challenges are hindering our development. So between now and 2023, I assume your engineers have some problems to overcome. Can you talk about this, and how achievable do you think the schedule is? < / P > < p > Beck: I mean, we’re going to build a spaceship that will travel half the solar system and send the probe into the atmosphere at 11 kilometers per second in search of life. It’s no big deal, right? < / P > < p > there are some serious technical challenges. I’m not too worried about the spacecraft. Don’t get me wrong. It’s very difficult, but we will have a lunar mission by then, and we already have a satellite in orbit, so we should have a lot of experience in this part. It is not easy for the detector to enter the atmosphere. We’re entering the atmosphere at a very fast rate, but the most difficult part is probably the instruments. So it’s not easy to define an instrument that searches for life, because you have to make some assumptions about what life is. And it’s very complicated and challenging to do it in a very small package and send the data back to earth within the time the probe is baking in the atmosphere of Venus. < / P > < p > but the advantage is that it doesn’t cost billions of dollars, and we can have a lot of deficiencies, so I’m happy to fund a Venus mission, but we certainly hope to convince others to do the whole mission activity, we can iterate science and take more risks. < / P > < p > new atlas: what do you think of the Venus mission, which will be carried out in conjunction with other larger missions being considered, such as NASA, Russia and ESA? < / P > < p > Beck: it’s all great science. We went there because we thought it was important, and we didn’t think we paid enough attention to the planet. So I’m glad that others are now turning their efforts back to that destination. In the end, it’s a victory for Venus and a victory for science. So I think it’s good. < / P > < p > in many ways, our desire to do a private mission here is to foster interest in other scientific discoveries. In the end, if more people go, we learn more, that’s what we want. So the catalyst, whether it’s us or some potential signs of life now, I think it’s very beautiful. < / P > < p > new atlas: back to the topic of photon satellite, launching must be very exciting for you. Can you tell us what that means and what role the spacecraft will play in the Venus mission? < / P > < p > Beck: this particular spacecraft is indeed the first photo satellite to operate in orbit. We use it to validate some of our technologies, and when it’s in orbit, we use it as a development test platform. We can let our customers try it and use it to see how we create and build systems. < / P > < p > we make rockets, but we also make satellites for people. Photons can be emitted by electron or not on electron. The entire space systems department is creating these end-to-end solutions. Therefore, we are obviously for our own internal interests, but also for external customers to understand the platform. < / P > < p > new atlas: now, you’re going to use this probe to explore the atmosphere of Venus… It’s interesting that you said that in looking for signs of life, you made some assumptions about the types of life you might find. So, how far away are you from the final instrument on the detector? What factors have you taken into account in your decision making? < / P > < p > Beck: we’re working with the scientific team that discovered phosphine, and we’ve been working together for a while. Look, I’m not a planetary scientist specializing in astrobiology, so it’s time for them to really help define. And our job is to bring the requirements of these instruments there. This is my view. < / P > < p > new atlas: you have recently suffered a launch pad failure and managed to recover fairly quickly. Is the process as smooth as you think? It seems like this to the outside world… < / P > < p > Beck: we have an incredible record of reliability, and no launch vehicle has failed in flight history. We never want that to happen, we do everything possible to ensure that it never happens, and we are extremely diligent here. < / P > < p > it’s not like the launch vehicle just exploded, it’s a very reasonable fault, we can quickly determine the root cause. Through this process, we can reproduce the problem and correct it very simply. In all of these troubleshooting investigations, you’ll end up spending more time proving what it’s not, not what it is. We can prove what it is very, very quickly, and then spend more time comforting ourselves and walking down every “rabbit hole” to make sure that there are no other contributing factors and that we really understand the problem. < / P > < p > sometimes you will see a flash point in these things, and then you will catch it and think it is like this, but it is not the case in the beginning. But we can solve this problem very confidently, I think this is probably the fastest return flight in history, so this is a real proof of the team, the system and the aircraft that we can get back to the platform very quickly. < / P > < p > new atlas: so photo will be used for next year’s lunar mission, and then another improved version of it will be used for the Venus mission. Are they major changes? < / P > < p > No, to be honest, spacecraft should be the same. That’s the point. When we first won the NASA mission, I said to the team, “yes, we’ll build a spacecraft to the moon, but at the same time we’ll build a spacecraft to Venus. So, in the current form, the spacecraft has enough energy, enough power, enough communication, and we really don’t need to redesign the spacecraft. We have developed a high-energy interplanetary spacecraft bus, whether it is the moon or Venus, in fact, there is no difference < 4 < air < 4 core= target=_ blank>Privacy Policy