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NASA has announced two new missions to learn more about Venus, a planet that is similar to Earth in many ways but is currently uninhabitable. Venus, according to NASA, may have been the first habitable planet in the Solar System, with an ocean and climate similar to that of Earth.
NASA scientist Tom Wagner said of the upcoming missions, “It’s amazing how little we know about Venus.” “However, the conclusions of these missions add up to telling the planet’s series of stories from clouds in the sky, volcanoes on its surface, all the way to the planet’s bottom and core.”
He continued, “It will be as if we have rediscovered the planet.”
NASA has announced two missions, DAVINCI+ and VERITAS, with different goals to better understand Venus.
DAVINCI+ will be used to learn about the composition of the atmosphere and how it has changed. It will be taking high-resolution images of geological formations on the planet that are comparable to Earth’s continents.
According to Reuters, the second mission, dubbed VERITAS, will attempt to map the planet’s surface and determine whether tectonic plates are moving and whether there is volcanic activity on Venus.
Both initiatives have budgets of around $500 million (nearly $10 billion), according to Bill Nelson, NASA’s President, who took over from Jim Bridenstine this year.