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Solving Venus’ mysteries, three missions at a time - Livestream

After years of waiting, an armada of spacecraft are headed to Venus. In June, NASA approved not one, but two new missions named VERITAS and DAVINCI to our closest planetary neighbor and ESA quickly followed suit and approved its own mission called EnVision.

Venus has been a forgotten planet for too long, especially if we compared the number of missions which explored it to the ones which visited Mars.

These missions will not only answer key questions about Venus, but on comparative planetary science, the science of comparing planets and their evolution over time. One of the fundamental question since we visited Venus in the 1960s is why are Venus and Earth so different. Venus could have been our twin planet but instead it has become a hellish sister with surface temperatures that are hot enough to melt lead.

Venus’ atmosphere has traces of water today, but the history of water is unclear. Did Venus have an ocean and if so when was it lost? Is there still water deep in the interior of the planet? Answers to these questions will give us clues on the past habitability of Venus.

We discuss the potential of those missions to answer to those questions and others, we invited Dr. Sue Smrekar, a senior research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology and principal investigator for the newly selected VERITAS, together with Dr. Thomas Widemann, scientist at the Observatoire de Paris and Professor at University Versailles Saint-Quentin and Deputy-lead Scientist of EnVision.

This conversation will be conducted from New Orleans at the American Geophysical Union Meeting where astronomers and geophysics gather to discuss the recent findings in the field. Franck Marchis, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute will meet these colleagues to discuss the missions, their goal and objectives and, of course address the tantalizing possibility that there is life on Venus.

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Wednesday, 12/15/21


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SETI Institute

, CA