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NASA Plans to Launch First American Mission to Venus Since 1989

NASA Plans to Launch First American Mission to Venus Since 1989

DAVINCI+ and VERITAS missions will launch to Venus in the late 2020s.

The space race has heated up in a big way. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced plans to send two new spacecraft to study Venus as the first U.S. missions to the hell-scape planet since 1989.

The missions, known as DAVINCI+ and Veritas, would use sensors to analyze the searing hot atmosphere in an attempt to determine how it evolved, and to map the rugged surface.

“Both aim to understand how Venus became an inferno capable of melting lead at the surface,” [NASA Administrator Bill] Nelson said during the annual State of NASA address in Washington D.C.

“They will offer the entire science community the chance to investigate a planet we haven’t been to in more than 30 years.”

DAVINCI+ stands for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging. It will focus on the plant’s atmosphere to better understand how it evolved.

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.

In addition, DAVINCI+ will return the first high resolution pictures of the unique geological features on Venus known as “tesserae,” which may be comparable to Earth’s continents, suggesting that Venus has plate tectonics. This would be the first U.S.-led mission to Venus’ atmosphere since 1978, and the results from DAVINCI+ could reshape our understanding of terrestrial planet formation in our solar system and beyond. James Garvin of Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the principal investigator. Goddard provides project management.

VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) will focus on the planet’s surface.

VERITAS, or Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy, will map the planet from orbit using a synthetic aperture radar system. It will also search for infrared emissions that could help scientists determine if there is active volcanism.

“It is astounding how little we know about Venus, but the combined results of these missions will tell us about the planet from the clouds in its sky through the volcanoes on its surface all the way down to its very core,” said Tom Wagner, NASA’s Discovery program scientist, in a statement. “It will be as if we have rediscovered the planet.”

There was a great deal of competition for the funding. Other missions NASA considered included those to the moons of Jupiter and Neptune. In the end, they decided to try and better understand how the Earth-sized planet evolved so differently than our planet.

“These two sister missions both aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world capable of melting lead at the surface,” Nelson said in his first address to the NASA workforce. “They will offer the entire science community the chance to investigate a planet we haven’t been to in more than 30 years.”

“This is beyond our wildest dreams,” said Martha Gilmore, a planetary scientist at Wesleyan University who is working with both missions. She notes these two missions were rejected in the last round of selections for NASA’s Discovery Program in 2017, so Venus proponents went into the selection process this time without any certainty of success. “I think we’re relieved. I feel a lot of relief.”

DAVINCI+ and VERITAS missions will launch to Venus in the late 2020s.


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The US Gov’t report on UFO’s will apparently state that the gov’t has “no evidence” of alien’s.

Isn’t the confirmed sightings of aircraft – using technology that is far beyond any tech we have or know of – evidence of an advanced intelligence that is not terrestrial ?

healthguyfsu | June 4, 2021 at 1:54 pm

Venus is a distraction….Mars is where we need to be, and we have to beat China in the new “Star Wars” (remember that vs USSR in the 80s?).

Thanks NASA for completely being stupid and caving to the Chiden administration.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to healthguyfsu. | June 4, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    Why not both Venus and Mars?

    henrybowman in reply to healthguyfsu. | June 4, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Governments have as much business exploring planets as they have running schools, grocery stores, or gas stations.

    Instead of NASA blowing truckloads of our tax money by doing their usual Challenger-quality jobs, NASA and the FAA could actually save money by ceasing their continuous boot-on-the-neck “regulation” of private enterprises that want to do this exploration themselves.

      mark311 in reply to henrybowman. | June 5, 2021 at 5:38 pm

      No one has stopped private enterprise from doing the space exploration themselves. There is no regulation saying don’t go to space. It’s a risk thing. Private enterprise didn’t have the funds or means to get into space originally. Longer term there are examples of private enterprise innovating in space How do you think the satellite industry started. NASA assisted private enterprise in the original enterprise.

      If it’s risky but strategically necessary you’ll find that actually it’s the public sector that drives innovation. Not the private sector. The space industry was built around the public sector and at some point involving the private sector

    Actually, it is Mars that is the distraction. Venus actually has one of the most Earthlike environments outside of Earth in the Solar System… about 30-35 miles up in the clouds. At that altitude Venus has Earthlike protection from radiation, Earthlike temperatures, an atmospheric density of about 1 Atmosphere of pressure where Earthlike atmospheric compisition is a lifting gas, and most importantly it has close to Earthlike gravity.

    That’s right, we could build floating cities, with the only caution being the need to coat them in an acid-resistant coating. We already have most of the technology to do this and do this long term. In contrast, Mars has none of these benefits. Mars’ low gravity, would likely make long term colonization impossible due to the deleterious effects of that low of a gravity, and changing Mars’ gravity is still the realm of science fiction. For that reason alone it makes Mars one of the least suitable planets in the solar system.

UnCivilServant | June 4, 2021 at 2:27 pm

Let me guess, they got the approvals for procurement by saying they were going to use it to study the end state of climate change as a result of greenhouse gasses?

Morning Sunshine | June 4, 2021 at 2:42 pm

“DaVinci” and “Veritas” are both Eurocentric and therefore racist/sexist names. DaVinci was a white male, and we all know that veritas is a racist hate group with an untrue project. Therefore naming these missions these names is mean and hateful.
I am going to go color my picture books and play with play do now (the rainbow variety)


Send the obamas. Let them have the record. And the heat.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to | June 4, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    I suspect that Venus has a much higher concentration of radioactive material, that plus its atmosphere acting as a blanket.

    What bothers me is that we should have been pursuing space much more seriously for the past 50 years. Why does it take China to get us to act?

      mark311 in reply to JusticeDelivered. | June 5, 2021 at 7:22 am

      Rivalries always make nations act quicker and take more risks. It’s why wars always produce an acceleration in tech or reform. Progress becomes a need rather than a want.

      Space exploration isn’t a topic that enables politicians to raise money for their campaigns. It’s much better to try and focus the citizenry on “threats to democracy” like Islamic terrorism, racism, pandemics, etc.

        mark311 in reply to NYBruin. | June 5, 2021 at 5:31 pm

        Well in modern terms no, but I’m Kennedy’s days are it was. It depends how you frame it now, the idea that China can do better than America, is that acceptable to you? If not then it could be a month ovation for a politician if there is a significant number who would agree with that statement

Out of morbid curiosity, I compared the distances from the sun of earth and venus…..what a shocker! Somehow, venus is 30,000,000 miles CLOSER to the sun than we are. Does NASA think that a fact like that MIGHT ‘splain why venus MAY be warmer?

Could the variance in distance from the sun be a factor in why the earth and venus are somehow “different?”

Mr./Dr. Bill Nelson (NASA Director) wants to “understand how venus became an inferno.” Dear Mr./Dr. Nelson….well, DUH!!

    mark311 in reply to bear. | June 4, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Err no, not really. That explains some of the temperature increase . Mercury is closer to the sun yet has a lower temperature. This is in part due to atmospheric conditions of Venus. I think the science may want to be a little bit more in-depth than just oh there is a temperature difference.