With surface temperatures exceeding 860 degrees and crushing atmospheric pressures that are more than 100 times those found on our own planet, the conditions on Venus are undeniably hellish.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, exploration of this unforgiving world hasn’t been easy, with several early Soviet lander missions ending up failing within a short time of arriving there.
NASA has previously sent several spacecraft to Venus, including the 1978 Pioneer orbiter which deployed a set of smaller probes, of which one survived for around an hour on the surface.
Now the space agency is planning to send two more spacecraft to Venus – the first in over 30 years (with the last being the Megallan orbiter which arrived there in 1990).
The first, named Davinci+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging), will measure the planet’s atmosphere.
The second, named Veritas (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy), will map the planet’s surface to determine its geological history.
“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 the sky through the volcanoes on its surface all the way down to its very core,” said NASA’s Tom Wagner.
If all goes to plan, the missions will launch sometime between 2028 and 2030.