After Mars, NASA to venture to Venus with VERITAS

After Mars, NASA to venture to Venus with VERITAS

VERITAS will be the first NASA mission to Venus since 1989

The VERITAS orbiter plans to map the 'evening star's' topography. Credit: AP/PTI Photo

Following the successful landing of rover 'Preserverance' on Mars, NASA is now shifting its sights to Venus in a bid to search for signs of life and understand how the planet became an"inferno-like world."

In a press release published earlier this month, NASA announced that it would launch two missions to the planet also known to earthlings as the 'evening star.' One such mission, it said, will be called VERITAS, which stands for Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy.

VERITAS is a small spacecraft that will orbit Venus (known as an orbiter) and map its topography and analyse its geology to understand why the planet — which shares many similarities to Earth — developed differently.

The mapping will be done through the InSAR cameras which can go beyond the planet's clouds.

Read | Venus lacks plate tectonics, but it has something much more quirky

VERITAS will be the first NASA mission since 1989 to the Volcano-rich planet and will send back much-needed up-to-date information about it. NASA says it expects to launch the orbiter between 2028 and 2030.

“It is astounding how little we know about Venus, but the combined results of these missions will tell us about the planet from the clouds in its sky through the volcanoes on its surface all the way down to its very core,” said Tom Wagner, NASA’s Discovery Program scientist. “It will be as if we have rediscovered the planet,” the space agency's release quoted him as saying.

Another NASA researcher, Caitlin Ahren said that Venus holds the key to the past, present, and future of planetary science. "The past being Venus may have had a flowing ocean, its present that there’s hundreds of volcanos,” Ahrens told 12WBOY.

Our planet has changed has arguably changed for the worse over the last 32 years. What about Venus? VERITAS will soon have the answer.

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