Pasadena, CA (April 5, 2023) — The Planetary Society is spearheading an effort to save the VERITAS mission to Venus, which is facing an indefinite delay due to constrained budgets at NASA.
On Wednesday, The Society published a joint letter urging Congress to commit to authorizing NASA to launch VERITAS no later than November 2029. The American Geophysical Union, as well as the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Tulane University, and Mount Holyoke College, academic institutions that have important roles in the mission, also signed the letter.
VERITAS was on budget and on schedule until NASA removed funds for the project in November of 2022. The space agency subsequently removed all development funds for the foreseeable future, indefinitely delaying the project.
The Planetary Society welcomes additional signatories from other organizations that wish to support this important scientific mission. Interested organizations should contact Director of Government Relations Jack Kiraly at [email protected].
The Planetary Society is also rallying its members and the public to send a message to their representatives in Congress in support of the mission. Additionally, supporters are encouraged to raise awareness of the delay on social media using the hashtag #SaveVERITAS. The Planetary Society is also highlighting the VERITAS mission in its virtual and in-person Day of Action events this year.
VERITAS is part of a comprehensive campaign to understand the history and global climate change of Venus, one of the lesser-studied planets in our Solar System. VERITAS’s primary mission is to map the entire surface of Venus in high resolution, something that we’ve done with Mars and the Moon, but not Earth’s closest allegory. The last NASA mission to Venus was Magellan, which lifted off in 1989.
During its 44-year history, The Planetary Society has fought against cuts to NASA’s planetary missions, galvanized public support for space, and supported scientists and explorers across the globe in their effort the know the Cosmos and our place within it.
The Planetary Society, American Geophysical Union, and Prominent Academic Institutions Call on Congress to Save VERITAS Mission to Venus
In a joint effort led by The Planetary Society, major organizations and academic institutions are calling on Congress to save the Venus Emissivity, Radio science, InSAR, Topography And Spectroscopy (VERITAS) mission by establishing a 2029 launch date, a 2-year delay from the original baseline schedule.
The Planetary Society released a statement welcoming the Biden Administration’s proposal to increase NASA’s budget by 7% in 2024, which supports the Artemis return to the Moon, Mars Sample Return, and a 2028 launch date of the Near-Earth Object Surveyor planetary defense mission.
About The Planetary Society
With a global community of more than 2 million space enthusiasts, The Planetary Society is the world’s largest and most influential space advocacy organization. Founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman and today led by CEO Bill Nye, we empower the public to take a meaningful role in advancing space exploration through advocacy, education outreach, scientific innovation, and global collaboration. Together with our members and supporters, we’re on a mission to explore worlds, find life off Earth, and protect our planet from dangerous asteroids. To learn more, visit www.planetary.org.