Venus-Nasa Announces Two New Missions

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Nasa recently made an announcement regarding its two new missions to Venus. They want to observe the planet’s atmosphere and geological features.

Each mission has been awarded $500m (£352m) in funding and will be launched between 2028 and 2030.

According to Nasa’s administrator Bill Nelson, the missions would offer the “chance to investigate a planet we haven’t been to in more than 30 years”.

The last US probe to visit the planet was the Magellan orbiter in 1990.

Since then, other spacecraft from countries like Europe and Japan have orbited the planet.

These missions were chosen because of their potential scientific value and the feasibility of their development plans.

“These two sister missions both aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world, capable of melting lead at the surface,” Mr Nelson said.

Venus is the second and the hottest planet in the solar system as it is very near to the sun. Thus, its surface temperature is 500C – high enough to melt lead.

The Davinci+ Mission

Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging (Davinci+) mission will measure the planet’s atmosphere to gain insight into how it formed and evolved.

The nasa project will also help determine whether Venus ever had an ocean.

This mission is expected to provide the first high-resolution images of the planet’s “tesserae” geological features.

According tothe scientists these features could be similar to continents on Earth. Hence, it might be possible that Venus has plate tectonics.

The Vertias Mission

Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy (Vertias) mission, will map the planet’s surface. This enables them to understand its geological history and investigate how it developed so differently than Earth.

This mission would comprise a sort of radar that will be used to graph surface elevations and discover whether volcanoes and earthquakes are still happening.

“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 the sky through the volcanoes on its surface all the way down to its very core,” said Tom Wagner from Nasa’s Planetary Science Division.

“It will be as if we have rediscovered the planet,” he added.

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