NASA plans two new missions to Venus, the first in decades Space

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DAVINCI +, which consists of a flying probe and an atmospheric descent probe, is also expected to return the first high-resolution images of unique geological features on Venus known as “tiles”.

NASA on Wednesday announced plans to launch two new science missions to Venus between 2028 and 2030, the first in decades, to study the atmosphere and geological features of the so-called sister planet Earth.

The U.S. space agency said it was allocating about $ 500 million for the development of each of the two missions, dubbed DAVINCI + (short for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry and Imaging) and VERITAS (an acronym). of Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography and Spectroscopy).

DAVINCI + will measure the composition of the dense Venusian atmosphere, seeking to improve understanding of how it evolved, while VERITAS will map the planet’s surface from orbit to help determine its geological history and why it developed so differently from the Earth, NASA said.

DAVINCI +, which consists of a flying probe and an atmospheric descent probe, is also expected to return the first high-resolution images of unique geological features on Venus called “tiles”. Scientists believe these features may be comparable to Earth’s continents and suggest that Venus has plate tectonics, according to the NASA announcement.

New NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on Wednesday announced two new robotic missions to the hottest planet in the solar system during his first major speech to employees [File: Bill Ingalls/NASA]

Venus, the closest planetary neighbor to Earth and the second planet from the Sun, is similar in structure, but slightly smaller than Earth, with a diameter of about 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles).

Above its preview landscape, there is a toxic, thick atmosphere consisting mainly of carbon dioxide, with clouds of sulfuric acid droplets. The consequence is a runaway greenhouse effect that bakes the surface of Venus at temperatures of up to 880 degrees Fahrenheit (471 degrees Celsius), hot enough to melt lead.

Venus has recently received less scientific attention than Mars, the closest planetary neighbor to Earth and other destinations in the solar system.

“We are renewing our planetary science program with an intense exploration of a world that NASA has not visited in more than 30 years,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate science administrator, in a statement announcing the missions .

NASA’s Magellan spacecraft, which arrived on Venus in 1990, compiled the first global map of the Venusian surface, as well as global maps of the planet’s gravitational field.

In 1994, the Magellan spacecraft was sent to dive to the surface of Venus to collect data about its atmosphere before it stopped operating.





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