01 July 2021, The Tablet

Venus rising


Across the Universe

Venus rising


 

LAST MONTH I mentioned that we’ve sent 15 missions to the Moon since 2007, with a dozen more in the offing. By contrast, Venus has seen just one spacecraft mission during that time, a Japanese orbiter in 2010. The last time the Europeans sent a mission to our nearest neighbour planet was in 2005; the Americans haven’t gone there since 1989, more than 30 years ago. And so it was something of a surprise – or, about time – when three new missions to Venus were announced this past month.

But why go to Venus, and why go now? It’s a combination of new technology and new scientific questions that has made these new Venus missions possible, and interesting.

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