Even as we bask in the knowledge that our neighboring planet Mars is currently home to a multitude of still functional landers, a triplet of rovers and with an ever-growing satellite network as well as the first ever flying drone on another planet, our other neighboring planet Venus is truly playing the wallflower, with Japan’s Akatsuki orbiter as the lone active Venusian mission right now.
That is about to change, however, with NASA having selected two new missions that will explore Venus by the end of this decade. The DAVINCI+ and VERITAS missions aim to respectively characterize Venus’ atmosphere and map its surface in unprecedented detail. This should provide us information about possible tectonic activity, as well as details about the Venusian atmosphere which so far have been sorely missing.
Despite Venus being the closest match to our planet Earth, how is it possible that we have been neglecting it for so long, and what can we expect from future missions, including and beyond these two new NASA missions?