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Topic: NASA Magellan Spacecraft

NASA’s proposed VERITAS spacecraft would explore the depths of Venus

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  Under consideration to become the next NASA Discovery Program mission, VERITAS would reveal the inner workings of Earth’s mysterious “twin.”

Imagine Earth. Now fill the skies with thick, Sun-obscuring clouds of sulfuric acid; boil off the oceans by cranking up the temperature to 900 degrees Fahrenheit (nearly 500 degrees Celsius), and boost the air pressure high enough to flatten you like a pancake. What you now have is Venus, a rocky planet similar in size to Earth but different in almost every other way.

An artist's concept of active volcanos on Venus, depicting a subduction zone where the foreground crust plunges into the planet's interior at the topographic trench. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Peter Rubin)

An artist’s concept of active volcanos on Venus, depicting a subduction zone where the foreground crust plunges into the planet’s interior at the topographic trench. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Peter Rubin)

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NASA looks at returning to Venus

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Sue Smrekar really wants to go back to Venus. In her office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the planetary scientist displays a 30-year-old image of Venus’ surface taken by the Magellan spacecraft, a reminder of how much time has passed since an American mission orbited the planet.

The image reveals a hellish landscape: a young surface with more volcanoes than any other body in the solar system, gigantic rifts, towering mountain belts and temperatures hot enough to melt lead.

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA's JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet's extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA's Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA’s JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet’s extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA explored Venus for the first time, 40 years ago

 

NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – Slightly smaller than Earth, Venus is our closest planetary neighbor. Despite its proximity, relatively little was known about the planet in the late 1970s, especially its lower atmosphere. All that changed, though, when the most comprehensive study of the Venusian atmosphere began 40 years ago with the NASA Pioneer Venus project. 

NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley managed the project, consisting of two spacecraft built by the Hughes Aircraft Company in El Segundo, California.

Left: Pioneer Venus Orbiter during assembly. Middle: Pioneer Venus Multiprobe undergoing final assembly and checkout. Right: Model of the Venera 11 and 12 lander (left) and entire spacecraft (right). (NASA)

Left: Pioneer Venus Orbiter during assembly. Middle: Pioneer Venus Multiprobe undergoing final assembly and checkout.
Right: Model of the Venera 11 and 12 lander (left) and entire spacecraft (right). (NASA)

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