While Elon Musk focused on colonize Mars, the POT has a different goal: Venus. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration has announced that it will return to the hottest planet in the solar system. The last mission to Earth’s neighbor was in 1994, while the next explorations will take place later this decade.
This Wednesday the POT made it known at some point between 2028 and 2030 starts two missions that will be visiting Venus. This would be the first direct exploration of the planet in 34 years.
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These expeditions are the most recent projects of the NASA discovery program, a kind of internal incubator for planetary science missions.
A mission is named VERITAS (Latin for “truth”), short for “Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy”. This space probe is supposed to orbit the planet in order to map and study it from above. The main goal is to understand how Venus evolved to reach surface temperatures close to 500 ° C and an atmosphere so dense that almost no known organism would support it.
The other is called DAVINCI +, short for ‘Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus’. This spacecraft will attempt to land on the surface to study the atmosphere as it descends and understand its chemical makeup.
Today we announce two new missions to explore the planet Venus, which we haven’t visited in over 30 years! DAVINCI + analyzes its atmosphere and VERITAS maps the surface. #StateOfNASA
Read more https://t.co/M237gwgsCg pic.twitter.com/ii4rUodo0A
– NASA in Spanish (@NASA_es) June 2, 2021
“These two sister missions are designed to understand how Venus became a hellish world that can melt lead on its surface.”NASA administrator Bill Nelson said at a news conference. “They will give the entire scientific community an opportunity to study a planet we haven’t been on in over 30 years.”.
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Will they look for life on Venus?
During the press conference, the POT didn’t mention any of the missions are looking Traces of extraterrestrial life.
However, the agency previously warned of the possibility that microbial life floating in the atmosphere of Venus. Additionally, a controversial finding last year suggested it might be there a gas associated with life.
The study led then-NASA administrator Jim Brindenstine to explain this “It’s time to prioritize Venus”, quoted by the New York Times.
Indeed, Missions to Venus they took precedence over two other proposals. One of them, called Trident, it would fly over Neptune’s largest moon; the other by name Io volcano watcher, would make 10 flybys of Jupiter’s moon Io.
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Currently the NASA discovery program includes missions Lucy Yes psyche to study Trojan asteroids near Jupiter and a metal-rich asteroid orbiting beyond Mars. The two missions he’s on today are that Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the module insight In Mars.