We Could Go to Venus with Today's Technology, Scientists Say

Space.com | 10/22/2019 | Elizabeth Howell
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We could go to Venus tomorrow with the technology we have today, urged a NASA scientific advisory group, and the group's members would like to get a mission off the ground as soon as possible.

Representatives from the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG) made a presentation to NASA's planetary science advisory committee on Sept. 24, recommending that the agency prioritize a mission to Venus, the second-closest planet to the sun.

Mars - Destination - NASA - Missions - Possibility

Mars is a popular destination for NASA missions, both due to the possibility of life on the planet and because the agency may send astronauts there as soon as the 2030s. That said, NASA does have separate calls for proposals to send missions to other solar system locations. Excluding flybys, Venus hasn't been visited by a dedicated NASA spacecraft in 25 years, even though scientists subsequently sent several mission proposals to the agency.

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Mars - Program - Water - Evidence - Life

"The Mars program has 'followed the water' and continued to look for evidence of life, but Mars only had liquid water present on its surface for a few hundred million years, [about] three billion years ago," said Darby Dyar, who made the VEXAG presentation and who is chair of astronomy at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, in an email to Space.com.

"Moreover, the Mars program has long united around a single goal," Dyar added, "which is to bring samples back from Mars. NASA Headquarters is supporting that goal with planning now. So my feeling is that although many outstanding science questions about Mars remain, they are second order compared to the dire state of knowledge about Venus."

VEXAG - NASA - Call - Discovery - Missions

So VEXAG hopes that NASA's current call for smaller Discovery missions will bear some fruit. The announcement of opportunity, which closed July 1, includes at least three Venus proposals. The Step-1 selections should be announced around January 2020....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Space.com
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