There are no less than three missions to Venus in the works: VERITAS, DAVINCI, and EnVision. We’ve neglected Venus as a scientific target, but these missions should correct this oversight.
There’s no launch date for NASA’s VERITAS, but this probe will study our evil twin from orbit to figure out why it became so inhospitable to life despite it being so similar to Earth in terms of size and composition.
Unlike VERITAS, NASA’s 3-foot-wide (1 meter) DAVINCI probe will take the plunge and perform a one-hour-long descent through Venus’s thick atmosphere, which it will do in 2031. Once DAVINCI starts its descent, “a parachute, being designed to survive Venus’s harsh environment, will deploy to slow it down,” NASA explains. “After the probe travels halfway to the surface, the parachute will be jettisoned; at this point, Venus’s atmosphere becomes so thick, 90 times thicker than Earth’s, that the probe will slow down naturally, settling like a stone in water.” DAVINCI isn’t expected to survive for very long on the surface, where temperatures can reach 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Like VERITAS, ESA’s EnVision probe will settle in orbit around Venus, where it will remain for the duration of its 4-year mission. A key goal of the project, done in partnership with NASA, is to study interactions between the surface and atmosphere, which display high levels of interactivity.