NASA has selected two missions, dubbed DAVINCI + and VERITAS, to explore the “lost habitable” world of Venus. About $ 500 million will be allocated for the development of each of them, and the launch of both missions is expected in the period from 2028 to 2030.
For a long time it was believed that there is no life on Venus due to its extremely high temperatures. But late last year, scientists studying the planet’s atmosphere announced the startling discovery of phosphine. On Earth, this chemical is produced primarily by living organisms.
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The news sparked renewed interest in Earth’s twin, prompting NASA to plan modern missions to look more closely at Venus’s planetary environment, which may hint at conditions suitable for life.
Ever since the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a huge number of nearby galaxies, astronomers have become obsessed with looking for exoplanets in other star systems, especially those that appear to be habitable.
But there are certain criteria by which a planet can be considered habitable. It must have a suitable temperature, atmospheric pressure similar to that of the earth, and available water.
In this respect, Venus probably would not have attracted much attention if it were outside our solar system. Its sky is filled with thick clouds of sulfuric acid (which is dangerous to humans), the land is a desert landscape of extinct volcanoes, and 90 percent of its surface is covered with hot, incandescent lava flows.
Regardless, NASA will be looking for environmental conditions on the planet that may have once supported life. In particular, any evidence that Venus once had an ocean will change all existing ideas about the planet today.
Interestingly, at an altitude of about 50 km above the surface of Venus, conditions are much less severe.
In fact, the pressure at these high altitudes eases so much that conditions become much more Earth-like, with breathable air and pleasant temperatures. If some form of life exists on Venus, then it is likely that it will be found here.