Posted on: Thursday, June 3, 2021 – 5:47 AM | Last update: Thursday, June 3, 2021 – 5:47 AM
Each mission received $500 million in funding, and they are scheduled to launch between 2028 and 2030.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the two missions would provide “an opportunity to examine a planet we haven’t visited in more than 30 years.”
The last probe to visit the planet was the Magellan orbiter in 1990.
A decision on the two missions was made after a review process that included their potential scientific value and the feasibility of their development plans.
“Both missions aim to understand how Venus became a hell-like world, capable of melting lead on the surface,” Nelson said.
The surface temperature of Venus is 500 degrees Celsius.
The “Da Vinci +” mission will measure the planet’s atmosphere to learn how it formed and evolved. The mission is expected to show the first high-resolution images of the planet’s geological features.
Scientists believe that these features are comparable to the continents on Earth, and may indicate that Venus has plate tectonics.
The second mission, VERITAS, will map the planet’s surface to understand its geological history and investigate how it evolved quite differently from Earth.
It will use some form of radar to plot surface elevations and detect if there are volcanoes and earthquakes.
It’s surprising that we don’t know much about Venus, said Tom Wagner, of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, “but the combined results of the two missions will tell us about the planet.
“It would be as if we rediscovered it,” he added.