NASA announces Two Robotic Missions to Venus | Daily Current Affairs 2021

NASA announces Two Robotic Missions to Venus

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The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) recently announced its plans of launching two new scientific missions to Venus between 2028 and 2030.

About the Mission:

  • The missions have been awarded about $500 million under NASA’s Discovery Program.
  • Each one is expected to launch in the 2028-2030 timeframe.
  • The two new robotic missions are dubbed Davinci+ and Veritas.
  • Both the mission to Venus are aimed at examining the atmosphere and geological features on the planet.
  • The two missions to the Earth’s sister planet by NASA which will be it’s first one in decades aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world capable of melting lead at the surface.
  • These two missions were selected after a peer-review process.
  • They were chosen on the basis of their potential scientific value and feasibility of their development plans.

About Davinci+ Mission:

  • Davinci+ is “Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging” mission.
  • It will measure the atmosphere of Venus to gain insight into how it formed and evolved.
  • It also seeks to determine whether Venus ever had an ocean.
  • DAVINCI+ will also consist of a fly-by spacecraft and an atmospheric descent probe.
  • It is expected to return the first high-resolution images of the unique geological characteristics on Venus called ‘tesserae’.
  • Scientists have believed that those features may be comparable to the continents of Earth and suggest that Venus has plate tectonics.

Veritas Mission:

  • The second mission, Veritas (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) will map the surface of Venus to understand its geologic history.
  • It will also investigate how it developed differently than Earth.
  • It will use a form of radar to investigate surface elevations and will discover if volcanoes and earthquakes are still happening.

Background:

  • The US and the former Soviet Union sent multiple spacecraft to Venus in the early days of space exploration.
  • In 1962, NASA’s Mariner 2 performed the first successful flyby.
  • In 1970, the Soviets’ Venera 7 made the first successful landing.
  • In 1990, NASA used a space shuttle to send its Magellan spacecraft into orbit around Venus.
  • The European Space Agency put a spacecraft around Venus in 2006.

About Venus:

  • Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system and the second planet from the sun.
  • It is Earth’s closest planetary neighbor.
  • It is similar in structure to Earth but slightly smaller, with a diameter of about 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles).
  • Its surface temperature is 500 degrees Celsius which is hot enough to melt lead.

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