Paris, 3 June 2021. – As part of its Discovery program, NASA has selected two new missions to Venus, Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor, the agency said.
NASA is awarding approximately $500 million per mission; they are expected to launch in the 2028-2030 timeframe.
The missions aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world when it has so many other characteristics similar to ours – and may have been the first habitable world in the solar system, complete with an ocean and Earth-like climate, NASA said.
The selected missions are Davinci+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) and Veritas (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy).
Davinci+ will measure the composition of Venus’ atmosphere to understand how it formed and evolved, as well as determine whether the planet ever had an ocean.
Veritas will map Venus’ surface to determine the planet’s geologic history and understand why it developed so differently than Earth.
Established in 1992, NASA’s Discovery Program has supported the development and implementation of over 20 missions and instruments.