NASA announces two new missions to Venus
- The missions called DAVINCI+ and VERITAS have been selected based on their potential for scientific value and the feasibility of their development plans.
- These both missions aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world, capable of melting lead at the surface.
- NASA is expected to allot $500 million to each of these missions that will launch between 2028-2030.
The Davinci+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) mission will:
- Measure the planet’s atmosphere to gain insight into how it formed and evolved.
- Determine whether Venus ever had an ocean.
- Return the first high resolution images of the planet’s “tesserae” geological features (These features could be comparable to continents on Earth).
2. Veritas (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy):
- This mission will map the planet’s surface to understand its geological history and investigate how it developed so differently than Earth.
- It will use a form of radar to chart surface elevations and discover whether volcanoes and earthquakes are still happening.
- It is the second planet from the sun and the hottest planet in the solar system with a surface temperature of 500C – high enough to melt lead.
- The planet’s thick atmosphere has cranked the surface pressure up to 90 bars.
- A single Venusian rotation takes 243.0226 Earth days. That means a day lasts longer than a year on Venus, which makes a complete orbit around the sun in 225 Earth days.
- The Venusian planetary core has a diameter of about 4,360 miles (7,000 km), comparable to Earth’s core.
- Venus is one of just two planets that rotate from east to west.
- Only Venus and Uranus have this “backward” rotation.
Historic missions to Venus:
- Magellan – a Nasa mission that ended in 1994.
- Venus Express– A European mission- focused on atmospheric science.
- Akatsuki– Japanese spacecraft- focused on atmospheric science.