NASA selects DAVINCI+ and VERITAS missions to explore Venus for its Discovery Program

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced two new missions that are aimed at studying the planet Venus. According to NASA's press release, the missions named DAVINCI+ and VERITAS will be a part of the agency’s Discovery Program. They will study how Venus turned into an inferno-like planet when it was possibly the first habitable planet of the solar system. It will also look at the similarities between Earth and Venus. For the development of both missions, NASA has allotted USD 500 million each. The timeline for the launch of these missions is between 2028-2030.

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA's JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet's extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA's Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA had picked four missions in February 2020 during its Discovery 2019 competition and finalised two missions. The feasibility of their development plans and potential scientific value were the two criteria that NASA used for the selection of the final missions. The agency has now assigned project teams that will finalise the mission’s design, developmental plans, and other requirements.

About the missions

DAVINCI+ stands for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging. It will measure the components of Venus’ atmosphere. On the other hand, VERITAS is the acronym for Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy. In this mission, NASA scientists will map the surface of the planet to understand its geologic history.

Along with these two missions, the space agency will also be sending two technology demonstrations. DAVINCI+ is going to be hosting the Compact Ultraviolet to Visible Imaging Spectrometer (CUVIS) while VERITAS will host Deep Space Atomic Clock-2.

The mission VERITAS will become the first to study the surface of Venus after the Magellan spacecraft which was also sent by NASA.

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