NASA has selected two missions, dubbed “Da Vinci Plus” and “Veritas”, to study the possibility of past life on Venus.
Both are expected to be launched between 2028 and 2030.
Each mission will receive approximately $500 million to advance its research, according to Science Alert.
It was long believed that there was no life on Venus, due to the extremely high temperatures, but late last year, scientists studying the planet’s atmosphere announced the discovery of phosphine, a chemical that is mainly produced by living organisms, on the planet. Earth.
The news sparked renewed interest in Earth’s “twin,” prompting NASA to plan sophisticated missions to look more closely at Venus and surrounding conditions that could indicate conditions to sustain life.
conditions of life
Since the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed the huge number of nearby galaxies, astronomers have been interested in searching for exoplanets in other star systems, especially those that appear to be habitable.
But there are certain criteria to consider the planet habitable, beginning with the need to provide an appropriate temperature and atmospheric pressure similar to the pressure of the earth and available water, and these conditions are not currently available on Venus.
Despite this, NASA will search the planet for environmental conditions that may have previously supported life.
Interestingly, conditions on Venus are much less harsh at around 50 kilometers (30 miles) above the surface.
In fact, the pressure at these high altitudes relieves so much that conditions become more Earth-like, with breathable air and mild temperatures.
Da Vinci Plus probe
NASA’s Da Vinci Plus mission is to explore Venus through its atmosphere and gases.
These researches have many scientific objectives related to the origin and evolution of the atmosphere, the formation of the atmosphere and interaction with it, in addition to the properties of the surface.
These findings could shed light on how Venus and Earth similarly began and diverged in their evolution.
Upon reaching Venus, the DAVINCI+ spacecraft will launch a spherical probe full of sensitive instruments through the planet’s atmosphere.
As it descends, the probe will take air samples, measure the atmosphere and send the measurements back to the orbiting spacecraft.
At the same time, the VERITAS mission will map surface features to determine the planet’s geological history and understand why it evolved differently from Earth.
Historical geology provides important information about ancient changes in climate, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.
This data can be used to predict the likely magnitude and frequency of future events.
The mission will also seek to understand the internal dynamics that shaped the planet.
In other words, we may be able to build a picture of the motions of Venus’ continental plates and compare it to the motions of the Earth.