Venus may finally get the attention of NASA for a long time. The second planet from the sun has been called Earth’s twin, although the rocky world developed very differently from our lush, watery, and life-filled planet. NASA announced on Wednesday two new official missions were selected: Veritas other Davinci + – to go to Venus as part of the agency’s Discovery program.
Each mission will receive $ 500 million for development, with an expected launch deadline of 2028 to 2030. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson shared the selection during his State of NASA address on Wednesday.
Mars may be the star of NASA’s planetary exploration efforts these days, but fiery Venus has been calling for scientists, especially after a, a gas that is sometimes produced by microbes, in the planet’s clouds.
The Veritas mission (for “Venus Emissivity, Radioscience, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy”) is designed to map the surface of Venus for answers on how it and Earth diverged so radically. It will look to see if volcanoes and other geological processes are still active.
Davinci + (Venus Investigation in Deep Atmosphere of Noble Gases, Chemistry and Imaging) will focus on the atmosphere of Venus and analyze whether the planet ever had oceans. “DAVINCI + dives into the inhospitable atmosphere of Venus to accurately measure its composition all the way to the surface.” NASA said about the proposal.
From NASA Discovery program, which began in 1992, focuses on smaller planetary science missions that fill in the gaps in NASA’s current mission line like the Perseverance rover on Mars and the Juno spacecraft on Jupiter.
“It’s amazing how little we know about Venus, but the combined results of these missions will tell us about the planet from the clouds in its sky through the volcanoes on its surface to the very core.” said Tom WagnerSaid the NASA Discovery Program scientist in a statement. “It will be as if we have rediscovered the planet.”
Discovery has already built a great legacy, including the still-active Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and theIn mars. The next visiting a nickel-iron asteroid is another participant in the program.
A NASA announcement day like this can be stressful for scientists who have spent years developing mission concepts. There was four missions in the race all of them had been selected for additional study in early 2020. Each idea received $ 3 million and nine months to develop the concept.
While Davinci + and Veritas got the nod, that means two other missions will be out. Io Volcano Observer (IVO) had its sights set on Jupiter’s moon Io to answer questions about the volcanically active world. Trident proposed sending a spacecraft to fly across Neptune’s icy moon, Triton, to investigate how habitable worlds can develop.
Several NASA spacecraft have made flybys of Venus in more recent years, but the agency has not launched a dedicated mission to Venus since then. Magellan, which arrived on the planet in 1990 to map the surface. Magellan lost contact in 1994.
Future missions have the potential to unlock some of Venus’s mysteries, including the question of whether it could harbor any form of microbial life. Venus may seem like an inhospitable hellish planet, but there is so much we don’t know about it … yet.
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