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NASA’s New Missions to Venus

NASA’s New Missions to Venus

Why in news?

  • Recently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced two new robotic missions to Venus.
  • Earlier, scientists obtained new data about Venus by bouncing radio waves off the planet.


  • The Davinci+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) mission will:
  • Measure the planet’s atmosphere to gain insight into how it formed and evolved.
  • Determine whether Venus ever had an ocean.
  • Return the first high resolution images of the planet’s “tesserae” geological features (These features could be comparable to continents on Earth).


  • Veritas (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy):
  • The mission will map the planet’s surface to understand its geologic history and investigate how it developed so differently than Earth
  • « The mission will use a form of radar to chart surface elevations and discover whether volcanoes and earthquakes are still happening.                NASA’s New Missions to Venus

Previous Venus Missions

  • The US and the former Soviet Union sent multiple spacecraft to Venus in the early days of space exploration.
  • NASA’s Mariner 2 performed the first successful flyby to Venus in 1962.
  • Then the Soviets’ Venera 7 made the first successful landing on Venus in 1970.
  • In 1989, NASA used a space shuttle to send its Magellan spacecraft into orbit around Venus.
  • Europe sent a mission named Venus Express in 2005.
  • In 2006, the European Space Agency put a spacecraft around Venus.
  • India plans to launch a new orbiter named Shukrayaan to Venus in 2024
  • The European Space Agency (Esa) is evaluating a Venus mission, called EnVision, alongside two astronomy proposals – Theseus and Spica. Other concepts are also being proposed to Nasa.

About Venus

  • Venus is the second planet from the sun and the hottest planet in the solar system with a surface temperature of 500C – high enough to melt lead.
  • The planet’s thick atmosphere has cranked the surface pressure up to 90 bars.
  • A single Venusian rotation takes 243.0226 Earth days. That means a day lasts longer than a year on Venus, which makes a complete orbit around the sun in 225 Earth days.
  • The Venusian planetary core has a diameter of about 4,360 miles (7,000 km), comparable to Earth’s core.
  • Venus is one of just two planets that rotate from east to west. Only Venus and Uranus have this “backwards” rotation.              NASA’s New Missions to Venus

Why Study Venus?

  • It will help to learn how Earth-like planets evolve and what conditions exist on Earth-sized exoplanets (planets that orbit a star other than our sun).
  • It will help in modelling Earth’s climate, and serves as a cautionary tale on how dramatically a planet’s climate can change.          NASA’s New Missions to Venus



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