NASA, new mission to Venus: what will be the role of Italy

The contribution of the Italian Space Agency and Sapienza University to the exploration of new frontiers. NASA, mission to Venus: what will be the role of Italy.

NASA will return to Venus and will do it also thanks to Italy. There are two missions announced by the U.S. space agency last week. They're called DAVINCI+ and VERITAS and will be implemented within a couple of years starting in 2028.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson spokeĀ of two "twin missions," whose goal is "to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world capable of melting lead on the surface."

What's Italy's role in all this?

What is Italy's contribution to the exploration of Venus

Italy is taking part in the VERITAS mission thanks to a partnership between the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a center belonging to the U.S. agency for the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft.

The collaboration intends to develop three instruments essential for the success of the interplanetary study: a transponder for communications and experiments on Venus, called IDST (Integrated Deep Space Transponder); VISAR (Venus Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar), which will be used to analyze volcanic phenomena, the High-Gain antenna (HGA).

The University of Rome La Sapienza also participates in the project, through the researchers led by Luciano Iess, working at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering: "This mission will allow us to give answers to questions that have remained open for too long," is the hope of Iess, who simultaneously stressed the international positioning and the importance of the Roman university in the scientific field.

For planetary geologist Gaetano Di Achille "this will be a unique opportunity to study the geological activity of the planet and verify if Venus is active". Thanks to the on-board instrumentation, it will also be possible to observe what changes have occurred since the last missions, NASA's Magellan and the European Space Agency's (ESA) Venus Express.

Not just Venus, here's how far NASA will go in space exploration

With an individual budget of $500 million, DAVINCI+ and VERITAS thus become part of the U.S. space agency's Discovery program. NASA's ambitions do not stop at the second planet of the Solar System: the attention of American researchers is focused on the asteroids Psyche and Lucy, on Jupiter (of which they want to explore the volcanic lava), on Triton, Neptune's satellite.

Venus was also talked about for a mysterious radio signal (which can be listened to). And, about NASA, there is who says it has found the mushrooms on Mars.

Giuseppe Giordano