NASA mulls Venus probe after signs of life found

2020-09-18 03:42:17 GMT2020-09-18 11:42:17(Beijing Time) Sina English

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NASA is considering approving by April up to two planetary science missions from four proposals, including one to Venus that scientists involved in the project said could help determine whether or not that planet harbors life.

An international research team on Monday announced finding of evidence of life beyond the Earth residing in the sulfuric-acid-laden Venusian clouds.

The US space agency in February shortlisted four proposed missions that are now being reviewed by a NASA panel, two of which would involve robotic probes to Venus. One of those, called DAVINCI+, would send a probe into the Venusian atmosphere.

“Davinci is the logical one to choose if you’re motivated in part by wanting to follow this up — because the way to follow this up is to actually go there and see what’s going on in the atmosphere,” said David Grinspoon, an astrobiologist working on the DAVINCI+ proposal.

The three other proposals include: IVO, a mission to Jupiter’s volcanically active moon Io; Trident, a fly-by trek to map Neptune’s icy moon Triton; and VERITAS, the second of the proposed Venus missions that would focus on understanding its geological history.

NASA may choose one or two missions.

The search for life elsewhere in the solar system has until now not focused on Venus.