In DepthPlanetary Science

Jilted again, Venus scientists pine for their neglected planet

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Science  13 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6321, pp. 116-117
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6321.116

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A probe from NASA has not targeted Venus, Earth's closest neighbor in solar system, since the early 1990s, although missions to Mars continue to pile up. Scientists had thought it likely that NASA would select a Venus mission for its next low-cost planetary probe, but on 4 January the agency selected two projects targeting asteroids instead. There are a host of scientific questions to be answered about Venus's origins, potential active volcanism, and hints of primordial oceans, but the planet's crushing pressure and veil of clouds may simply make it too risky for $450 million missions. Scientists are now targeting NASA's next competition, for a more expensive Venus lander, with bids due in April.