Venus beckons part 2: A new NASA collaborative mission with Russia?

Artist’s conception of the Venera-D spacecraft in orbit around Venus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Last week, Planetaria reported on why NASA should return to Venus, and new technology being developed to help make that happen, especially as in longer-lived landers or rovers. With its extremely hostile conditions, Venus has been much less of a priority in more recent years, at least in terms of surface missions, despite it being Earth’s closest planetary neighbour. But now there may be more impetus towards a new mission – not one that NASA would do alone, but rather a joint mission with Russia, known as Venera-D.

Such a collaboration might be a smart move, considering that it was the former Soviet Union which first sent landers, the Venera and Vega series, to Venus’ surface in the 1970s and 1980s. They didn’t last long in the hot, high-pressure and corrosive environment, but they sent back a large amount of information and images, a very impressive feat. They provided our first close-up look at Venus’ surface. Sadly, however, there haven’t been any further surface missions yet, only orbiters and fly-by probes.

Read the rest of my article on AmericaSpace.

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