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Current Affairs

NASA’s Venus exploration mission

Date: 05 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

DAVINCI+ and VERITAS are the two missions NASA has approved for studying the planet Venus. They have been selected due to the scientific value as well as feasibility plan.

 

Background

A sum of $500 million has been allocated to each of the missions. The timeline of the mission has been set within 2028-2030.

 

Venus planet

  • The planet is dubbed as Earth’s twin due to its size. It however has many differences compared to Earth.

  • It is the second brightest object in the night sky as it reflects scattered light. Its atmosphere is made up of thick cloud cover.

  • The thick atmosphere traps the heat from the Sun and is also the reason for its hot temperature. It can even melt lead.

  • The Venus revolves around the Sun in opposite spin of Earth. The Sun here rises from the west and sets in the east.

  • The planet has no moon or rings around it. One day on Venus is equal to 243 earth days due to its backward spin.

 

Human missions

The climate and conditions on Venus are not conductive for human missions. Even the spacecrafts sent cannot survive for long.

 

The new missions

  • The missions are part of NASA’s Discovery program. These missions have short developmental times and also use fewer resources.

  • DAVINCI+ is acronym for ‘Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging. It will visit Venus’ atmosphere.

  • The first high resolution image of a unique phenomenon known as “tesserae” will be tried to retrieve. The tesserae will indicate presence of Earth-like tectonic plates.

  • VERITAS is acronym for ‘Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy’. It will study the planet’s geological history.

  • VERITAS will try to create a 3D image of Venus’ topography. It will help in finding if plate tectonics and volcanism are still active.