NASA selects 2 new scientific missions to Venus

By Seda Sevencan

ISTANBUL (AA) – The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to launch two new scientific missions to Venus between 2028 and 2030, it announced Wednesday.

"The missions aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world when it has so many other characteristics similar to ours – and may have been the first habitable world in the solar system, complete with an ocean and Earth-like climate," NASA said.

The Space missions named "DAVINCI+" and "VERITAS" are planned to be sent to the earth’s nearest planetary neighbor between 2028 and 2030.

The DAVINCI+ will analyze the composition of the planet’s atmosphere to understand how it formed and evolved, also determine whether the planet ever had an ocean.

Additionally, It will send back the first high-resolution pictures of the geological features on Venus called “tesserae,” which may be comparable to Earth’s continents, suggesting that Venus has plate tectonics.

This will be the first US-led mission to the Venusian atmosphere since 1978.

Another mission, known as VERITAS, will map Venus’ surface to determine the planet’s geologic history and understand why it developed so differently than Earth.

"Orbiting Venus with a synthetic aperture radar, VERITAS will chart surface elevations over nearly the entire planet to create 3D reconstructions of topography and confirm whether processes such as plate tectonics and volcanism are still active on Venus."

"It is astounding 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 all the way down to its very core,” said Tom Wagner, NASA’s Discovery Program scientist. “It will be as if we have rediscovered the planet."