In September 2020, then-NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine declared, “It’s time to prioritize Venus,” after scientists discovered compelling evidence for life on the hellish planet, which can melt lead at its 900 degree Fahrenheit surface.
Nine months later, the federal space agency unveiled not one, but two missions to the long-neglected planet for the first time in three decades after United States and Soviet exploration ceased in the 1990s.
The discovery of the molecule phosphine on Venus’s clouds, however, has renewed interest in the planet most similar to Earth than any other in the solar system with its size and composition. The only plausible explanation for the chemical compound in the planet’s clouds is the existence of life producing it as waste, leading NASA to launch two probes to investigate, slated for launch at the end of the decade.
The DAVINCI+ and the VERITAS missions will conclusively confirm whether phosphine does indeed exist in the atmosphere and probe for microbial