New NASA missions will be aimed at finding traces of life on Venus and some of the satellites of the giant planets of the solar system, says the portal newscientist.com Four new missions aimed at visiting the least studied worlds of the solar system were selected as part of the Discovery agency program, which finances relatively low-cost missions within our solar system. Two of the four missions are aimed at exploring the second planet from the Sun – Venus – the most poorly studied world of the inner solar system.
Is there life on Venus?
Several new NASA missions aimed at exploring Venus suggest starting to study the surface of the second planet from the Sun. The first mission, called the DAVINCI + program (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus), proposes to send a new generation of spacecraft to the vicinity of the planet. This device rapidly falling through the hot and dense atmosphere of the planet could measure the composition of the planet’s air envelope, giving researchers the opportunity to understand the processes that form the Venusian atmosphere. Among other things, humanity can finally have a unique opportunity to find the answer to the question of whether oceans and seas have ever existed in the history of Venus, creating conditions on the planet for the appearance of life.
See also: There is growing evidence that Venus was once inhabited
The second mission, called by scientists the VERITAS program, will be located in the orbit of the planet. Rotating around the planet, the device will be equipped with powerful radar devices that will allow the mechanism to “look” through the dense atmosphere of Venus, mapping the surface in search of active processes such as volcanism or plate tectonics. The device can also determine the composition of the surface and tell us why it is so different from the earth.
Two other alleged missions will be aimed at studying the surface details of perhaps the strangest satellites in our solar system. The Io Volcanic Observer (IVO) is the first proposed vehicle to make several close passages past the Jovian satellite Io, the most volcanically active site in the solar system. Although we know that Io is almost completely covered by massive volcanoes, a new space mission will help us find out where the magma that supplies these volcanoes comes from and how they are erupted.
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The last mission, called the TRIDENT mission, will be the implementation of a proposal by NASA experts to fly past Neptune and its huge satellite Triton, which differs from other frozen bodies of the Solar System by its strange activity. So, the distant satellite has its own ice volcanoes, actively erupting in ice and water, even though both Neptune and Triton are extremely far from the Sun. Among other things, the TRIDENT program will search for the underground ocean on the unusual moon of Neptune in an attempt to find out the reasons for the unexpected activity of this ice object, providing humanity with more and more knowledge about the development and evolution of potentially inhabited worlds.
All the missions described above will receive funding of $ 3 million over the next nine months. At the end of the development period, one or two of them will be selected for actual launch.