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  • Sai Charan

NASA announces two new missions to Venus

File Photo: Venus. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

NASA has just announced two new missions to Venus that aim to better understand the often overlooked planet. The two missions are dubbed DAVINCI+ and VERITAS. This is the first NASA mission to Venus in over 30 years. This indicates a renewed interest in Venus at a time when most recent missions have focussed extensively on Mars.

The Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging, Plus mission dubbed DAVINCI+ will measure the composition of Venus’ atmosphere to understand how it was formed and has evolved, as well as determine whether the planet ever had an ocean. The DAVINCI+ probe will travel through the Venus atmosphere, sampling the air, and returning measurements down to the surface.

The Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy mission dubbed VERITAS will map the planet's surface to determine its geologic history and understand why it developed so differently than Earth. It will also investigate the planet's atmosphere to find out how that evolved. Both missions are expected to launch in the 2028-2030 timeframe.

As part of NASA’s Discovery Program, the two missions will see a combined $1 billion in funding for development. NASA has said that this is in line with its mission to advance scientific knowledge and understanding of the Solar System. With new missions like DAVINCI+ and VERITAS, the next decade promises to be an exciting time for planetary exploration with new probes reaching farther into the Solar System than ever before and more data coming back from those probes than ever before.

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