The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States announced that it is launching two new missions to Venus after over 30 years to examine its atmosphere and geological features.
According to NASA, the two separate missions, bound for what the agency hypothesizes as the first habitable world in our solar system, are expected to launch between 2028 and 2030.
The first mission is DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging), which will measure the composition of the planet’s atmosphere to understand how it formed and evolved, NASA said.
DAVINCI+ will also determine if the planet ever had an ocean and will return with the first high resolution pictures of the planet’s geological features, NASA added.
The second mission is VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy), which NASA said will map the surface of the planet to determine why it developed differently from Earth.
VERITAS will also chart surface elevations using a form of radar to create 3D reconstructions of its topography and to determine if active volcanoes are present.
NASA has set an award of approximately $500 million per mission for development.
“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,” NASA’s Discovery Program scientist Tom Wagner said.
“It will be as if we have rediscovered the planet,” Wagner added.