Former UAF Vice Chancellor Focuses on Venus Mission

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Former University of Alaska Fairbanks Vice Chancellor of research Buck Sharpton is leading a team pursing a mission to Venus.  Sharpton, who left his UAF post at the end of last month, but will continue to teach at the University, is currently focused on shepherding a proposal to NASA.  Sharpton says the multi-national academic and industry group wants to send an unmanned spacecraft to Venus to scan the planet.

Sharpton says the mission will employ a time-tested radar that will spin around Venus for two earth years.  Sharpton, who’s worked on planetary missions in the past, says Venus is of interest because of its similar position to earth in the solar system, and it’s a very different environment.  He says Venus may hold answers to fundamental questions scientists are grappling with on earth.

Sharpton says just getting the Venus mission proposal together is a multi-million dollar endeavor and his summer is packed with completing its submission to NASA. He says the next challenge will be getting through the evaluation phase. The group being lead by Sharpton is one of several competing for NASA funding.  The proposed Venus mission would launch in 2016.

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