New NASA video takes you into the atmosphere of Venus

NASA wants you to get excited about the nightmarish world next door.

This spring, the agency announced it would develop two new missions to explore Venus in the early 2030s. One of them, called VERITAS (short for Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy), would be in orbit around the planet, peering through its thick clouds. The other, nicknamed DAVINCI (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gas, Chemistry, and Imaging), would go a little further, dropping a high-tech probe to dive into the acrid Venusian atmosphere. Now NASA has released a new video highlighting the DAVINCI mission and the science it will bring to our twin planet.

“Venus is waiting for us all, and DAVINCI is ready to take us there and spark a new rebirth of Venus,” said narrator Giada Arney, a planetologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, in the United States. video.

Related: Here are all the successful Venus missions humanity has ever launched

Representation of an artist of the DAVINCI probe approaching the surface of Venus. (Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

Scheduled to be launched in 2029, the DAVINCI mission has two main components, explains the video. First, the main spacecraft, which will perform two overflights of the planet to study its atmosphere and the nocturnal surface. The atmospheric work of the spacecraft will focus on observing how the clouds change over time and attempt to identify a mysterious chemical that strangely absorbs ultraviolet light.

Night work, meanwhile, will map the surface in infrared light, as the rock releases its absorbed heat during the long night. Scientists hope the data will help them understand how the planet’s strange highlands formed.

Seven months after the two encounters, the probe will make an hour-long descent through the clouds, returning data to the bottom. Under the surveillance of the main spacecraft, the probe will detect the composition, temperatures, pressures and winds present in each layer of the Venusian atmosphere. Scientists hope that all of this data will help them not only to better understand today’s planet, but also to piece together its history – and in particular, whether the world once boasted about water.

Once the surface is visible, the probe will also capture high-resolution images of a region called the Alpha Regio Tesserae. The surface of Venus contains numerous plaques of tesserae, where rock has repeatedly broken and bent in a way that only occurs on Earth in the depths of the crust. Scientists hope that by understanding the tesserae and how they came to the surface, they can better piece together the history of Venus.

All in all, the probe will show humans “what it might be like to stand on the surface of Venus,” Arney said. “The findings that emerge from this diverse data set will tell us whether Venus was truly habitable.”

Email Meghan Bartels at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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