Science & Technology

NASA plans to launch two new missions to Venus by 2030

The Venus missions will provide valuable insights to our fight against climate change

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 07 June 2021

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced plans Wednesday to launch two new scientific missions to Venus by 2030. This will be the first NASA exploration of the planet since 1989.

The new NASA projects aim to study the atmosphere and geologic features of Earth’s ‘sister planet’. The United States space agency said it was spending about $500 million on each mission.

The new missions are dubbed DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry and Imaging) and VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography and Spectroscopy). DAVINCI+ Mission will help measure the composition of the dense Venusian atmosphere to understand how it evolved and VERITAS will map the planet’s surface from orbit to help determine its geological history, NASA said.

DAVINCI+ is also expected to return the first high-resolution images of unique geological characteristics on Venus called ‘tesserae’. Tesserae are the most geologically complex regions seen on Venus with rugged and elevated features.

Surface temperatures in Venus can go as high as 471 degrees Celsius, hot enough to melt lead. Scientists believe Venus may have once harboured seas of water potentially suitable for life before unknown forces triggered an extreme greenhouse effect, vapourising its oceans.

NASA’s Magellan spacecraft made the first global map of the Venusian surface in 1990. Scientists says that the Venus missions will provide valuable insights to our fight against climate change.

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