Venus is a hellish world. On the surface, the temperature is about 500 degrees, the air pressure is overwhelming, and the atmosphere is almost entirely made up of carbon dioxide. The descending probe is likely to fail before the end of the hour-long trip.
Yet our closest neighbor in the universe probably once looked completely different. The planet may even have been habitable, with oceans and a climate similar to that of Earth. “These missions should demonstrate how a planet so similar to ours turned into hell,” wrote NASA. According to the space agency, this may reveal something not only about the formation of the planets, but also about climate change on Earth.
NASA chose these two missions rather than two other proposals: a visit to the moon Io of Jupiter or the moon Triton of Neptune. 500 million dollars were allocated to each mission, the equivalent of 410 million euros.
NASA first flew over Venus in 1962, the Soviet Union landed there successfully in 1970. NASA’s last mission to Venus dates back to the early 1990s, when the Magellan spacecraft first mapped all of it. the surface of Venus. In 2006, the European ESA launched another spacecraft into orbit around Venus.