There’s more than 1 way to send a spacecraft to Venus

A look at Rocket Lab’s private mission to Earth’s twin, and how NASA decides what planets to visit

Mars has been the bell of the planetary ball in the last few decades, but that’s not to say other planets in the solar system, like Venus, haven’t had a fair share of attention over the years.

NASA last sent a spacecraft to orbit Earth’s nearest neighbor in 1990.

Russia, formerly the Soviet Union, sent a whole slew of mostly successful missions to Venus, and Japan has an orbiter there now.

The tricky part is sending a robotic mission to the surface. Most have only survived for a few hours. So why send a robot to a planet that will destroy it?

The short answer: It can likely tell us more about our home planet.

[RELATED EPISODE: The curious tale of searching for signs of life on Venus]

“Why does it have such a different path than what we took here on Earth?” NASA Discovery Program lead scientist Thomas Wagner said.


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