NASA has recruited four new teams to further explore the Solar System. Two of these teams will be exploring Venus, while other two will be studying Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io and work on understanding Neptune’s moon Triton. NASA is sanctioning $3 million to each of the teams to help study and observe celestial bodies.
“These selected missions have the potential to transform our understanding of some of the solar system’s most active and complex worlds,” a press release by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate notes. The idea is to unlock the secrets of how, and others like it came to be in the cosmos.
One of the teams set to study Venus will work on VERITAS. It expands to Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy. The team would be mapping the surface of the planet and gathering data about the planet developed and how it became so different from our Earth. VERITAS would also map infrared emissions from the surface to map Venus’ geology, which is largely unknown.
NASA DAVINCI +
Here, DAVINCI+ stands for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus. This too would be heading to Venus and would primarily focus on Venus’ gases surrounding the planet. NASA would be sending a probe deep into the planet’s atmosphere, a key highlight of the mission. The objective is to understand how Venus’ atmosphere evolved and if it had an ocean before.
NASA IVO As
part of the new announcement, NASA is prepping a team to study Jupiter’s moon Io. IVO or Io Volcano Observer would be sent to the moon. Incidentally, Io is deemed to be the most volcanic body in the entire Solar System. The NASA IVO mission aims to get to a closer look at Io’s extreme volcanism in a bid to understand more about its structure.
The last mission newly scheduled is Trident. It’s the only non-acronym proposal in the bunch (possibly named after Neptune, the Roman god of the sea’s weapon). NASA says the Trident would visit Triton, one of Neptune’s Moons to map its surface. The objective is to look for clues if the Moon has a predicted subsurface ocean.
At the same time, NASA is gearing up for the upcoming Artemis mission to the Moon. The space agency is looking for new astronauts, whose mission would be to set up a station and eventually send humans to Mars. The next batch of NASA astronauts would require slightly different job requirements, NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean says “it’s the best job, on or off the planet.” Of course, the hiring process would be a long one. And once hired, there would be rigorous training sessions. Astronauts would require working in real life-or-death situations. They would join the current league of 48 astronauts in the active corps. After much training and classroom sessions, they would be assigned to a mission, which in turn has its own set of training.