Although NASA said the planet was “hot,” “unforgiving” and had “a toxic atmosphere,” the space agency announced Wednesday that it was headed to Venus.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said a pair of missions — named DaVinci+ and Veritas — would research “how Venus became an inferno-like world” and “offer the entire science community the chance to investigate a planet we haven’t been to in more than 30 years.”
In today's #StateOfNASA address, we announced two new @NASASolarSystem missions to study the planet Venus, which we haven't visited in over 30 years! DAVINCI+ will analyze Venus’ atmosphere, and VERITAS will map Venus’ surface. pic.twitter.com/yC5Etbpgb8— NASA (@NASA) June 2, 2021
What we know about DaVinci+ and Veritas
The space agency said the two missions to Venus would likely launch around 2028-2030, according to a NASA press release, and each mission had been awarded $500 million for development.
The Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry and Imaging mission— or DaVinci+ — will attempt to study how the planet was formed and if it ever had oceans.
- “The mission consists of a descent sphere that will plunge through the planet’s thick atmosphere, making precise measurements of noble gases and other elements to understand why Venus’ atmosphere is a runaway hothouse compared the Earth’s,” NASA said in its press release.
- DaVinci+ will also try to take pictures of continent-like structures — known as “tesserae” — on Venus’ surface.
Veritas — short for Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy — will conduct a mapping mission of Venus while flying around the planet.
- “Orbiting Venus with a synthetic aperture radar, VERITAS will chart surface elevations over nearly the entire planet to create 3D reconstructions of topography and confirm whether processes such as plate tectonics and volcanism are still active on Venus,” according to NASA.
- German, Italian and French space agencies will also participate in the Veritas mission.
You can watch NASA announcement of the two Venus sister missions here: “NASA’s Return to Venus.