Artist’s concept of Venus’ forbidding surface. (Credit: ESA/MPS/DLR/IDA)
Earth and Venus travel around the Sun in neighboring orbits and both are rocky planets about the same size, but there the similarities end—at least in how the two worlds exist today. Venus’ desiccated surface roasts at nearly 900 degrees Fahrenheit beneath an opaque and crushing atmosphere over 90 times denser than Earth’s, and global tectonic motion—if it ever existed at all—appears to have long come to a standstill on Venus.
The last detailed study of Venus’ surface took place over 26 years ago with NASA’s Magellan mission. Now scientists in the U.S. and Europe are proposing NASA’s return to Venus with VERITAS, which would launch in 2026 and send an orbiter with the latest technology to map Venus’ surface in high resolution 3D.
This artist’s concept shows the proposed VERITAS spacecraft using its radar to produce high-resolution maps of Venus’ topographic and geologic features. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
(News from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Short for Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography & Spectroscopy, VERITAS is being considered for selection under NASA’s Discovery Program and would be managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
“Venus is like this cosmic gift ...