Nasa has announced the launch of two new Venus missions to study the planet’s atmosphere and geological characteristics.
The missions will launch between 2028 and 2030, with each receiving $500 million (£352 million) in funding. The missions will provide Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson the “opportunity to examine a planet we haven’t visited in more than 30 years.” The Magellan orbiter was the final US probe to explore the planet in 1990. Since then, though, several spacecraft from Europe and Japan have orbited the planet. The missions were chosen via a peer-review procedure and were chosen based on their prospective scientific value and development feasibility.
Why NASA is planning for Venus?
Mr. Nelson explained, “Both of these sibling mission attempts are to understand how Venus became an inferno-like globe capable of melting lead at the surface.” Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system, with a surface temperature of 500 degrees Celsius, hot enough to melt lead.
The Davinci+ mission (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) will take measurements of the planet’s atmosphere in order to learn more about how it created and developed. It will also try to figure out if Venus has ever had an ocean.
Therefore, the first high-resolution photos of the planet’s “tesserae” geological structures are expected from Davinci+. These characteristics, according to scientists, might be analogous to continents on Earth, implying that Venus possesses plate tectonics.
Veritas (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) is the second mission, and it will scan the planet’s surface to learn more about its geological past and how it differed from Earth.
It will track surface elevations and determine whether volcanoes and earthquakes are still actively using a type of radar.
“It’s amazing how little we know about Venus,” said Tom Wagner of Nasa’s Planetary Science Division. “But the combined results of these missions will teach us everything the planet from the clouds in the sky to the volcanoes on its surface all the way down to its very core.”
He went on to say, “It’ll be as if we’ve found the world.”