NASA has announced two new missions to Venus are due to launch within the next decade, marking the first return to the planet in over 30 years! The space agency confirmed the two missions will be receiving $500 million in funding and will aim to explore the atmosphere and geology of the planet.
In case you missed today's #StateOfNASA announcement: we're returning to the planet Venus! Two new @NASASolarSystem missions, DAVINCI+ and VERITAS, will help us better understand how Venus became an inferno-like world: https://t.co/DF53pHj5V8 pic.twitter.com/5usRJ0xSoO
— NASA (@NASA) June 2, 2021
The two missions are expected to take off between 2028 and 2030. Although other probes have flown past the terrestrial planet over the years, the last spacecraft to make a proper visit was the Magellan orbiter in 1991, which helped NASA map the surface of the planet.
In a statement, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said the programs would give scientists the ‘chance to investigate a planet we haven’t been to in more than 30 years.’
Venus was actually the first planet to be visited by a spacecraft when the Mariner 2 operated a fly-by in 1962. It was also the first planet to be landed on, with the successful touchdown of Venera 7 in 1970, before attention was turned towards Mars for its potential to support a human colony.
As the hottest planet in our solar system, Venus burns at a surface temperate of 500°C yet is one of only three rocky planets other than Earth. One of the upcoming missions, Davinci+, is set to provide the first high-resolution images of Venus’s geological features and to measure the planet’s atmosphere.
Venus, it's so hot right now🔥
Congratulations to the two missions selected to explore our neighboring planet, the hottest in the solar system.https://t.co/5m4AwgjaXk
— NASA Solar System (@NASASolarSystem) June 2, 2021
The second mission, Veritas aims to understand how a planet with many similar characteristics to Earth came to be so different from our home planet and will use radar to study Venus’s geological characteristics.