Artist’s impression of active volcanoes on Venus, depicting a subduction zone in which the crust in the foreground plunges into the interior of the planet. Credits: Nasa / Jpl-Caltech / Peter Rubin
Italy also flies to Venus. By 2030 the mission Veritas (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSar, Topography, and Spectroscopy) of NASA will leave for Venus to unravel the inner workings of Earth’s mysterious twin planet.
The announcement was released by President Nasa Bill Nelson, which also announced the launch of a second mission, called Davinci +, which will start as Veritas with Venus as a target. Both are part of NASA’s Discovery Program and are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in California.
Italy participates in the Veritas mission through a partnership collaboration between the Italian Space Agency and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which has assigned our country the responsibility for the development and construction of three on-board instruments: the transponder Idst (Integrated Deep Space Transponder), necessary to ensure communications and to perform radio science experiments useful for understanding the gravity of the planet, part a Visar radio frequency (Venus Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar), useful for studying the morphology of the planet and the phenomena of volcanism, and theantenna Hga (High-Gain Antenna).
“Since Veritas,” he says Barbara Negri, responsible for the Italian Space Agency of the Human Flight and Scientific Experimentation Unit, “will investigate the geological history of the planet closest to Earth, mapping its surface to study processes such as tectonics or volcanism, and given the Italian contribution above described, we can say with certainty that Italy will contribute in a determined way to the main scientific themes of the mission, without neglecting the technological contribution of the parts of our responsibility that have been identified thanks to the experience gained on other collaborations with the Jpl such as Cassini and Juno “.
“This will be a unique opportunity to study the planet’s geological activity and see if Venus is currently active,” he comments Gaetano Di Achille, researcher at the National Institute of Astrophysics in Teramo, co-investigator of the mission and expert in planetary geology. “The instrumentation on board will allow us to have an unprecedented vision of the planet and its variations that have occurred since the visit of the latest missions, Magellan of NASA and Venus Express of ESA”.
The mission could also provide new data on the evolution of our planet, helping us better understand the rocky planets orbiting other stars.