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Why we need VERITAS

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NASA's first mission to Venus in decades is in danger. This is why VERITAS is worth saving, and what you can do to help.


This is VERITAS. A new orbiter mission planned by NASA to study the secretive surface of Venus. But the future of this spacecraft is uncertain and may depend on advocates like you. Despite how close it is to us, Venus is one of the lesser studied planets in our Solar System. Currently, scientists know more about the surface of Pluto than the surface of Venus. It is likely that Venus used to have similar conditions to Earth. Oceans of liquid water, a mild climate, and other characteristics that may have even made it welcoming to life. Today, one of the great unanswered questions in planetary science is what allowed Earth to develop and maintain its habitability, while Venus became a sulfurous hell.

VERITAS would help us understand this transformation by giving us global, high-resolution data sets, just like the ones that have revolutionized our understanding of Mars, Mercury, the Moon, and many other worlds in our Solar System. VERITAS would provide detailed maps of the entire planet's surface. These maps would help scientists understand the surface of Venus today and how it has transformed over tens of millions of years. From orbit, it would also be able to analyze the different types of rocks found across the planet, which could be instrumental in helping us understand Venus and Earth's similarities and differences. VERITAS would provide an unprecedented opportunity for scientists to understand the planet's inner workings by measuring the gravitational field, allowing scientists to infer the size of its core and composition of its mantle. It would even analyze the planet's atmosphere to help answer the question: Do the clouds on Venus contain any signs of life?

The mission was being developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech and was on schedule, on budget, and making great progress with an experienced team. Unfortunately, NASA's budget for VERITAS was cut and the mission's development was delayed indefinitely, with no clear restart in sight. You can help get its funding back, spread the word about this important mission, and help rally public support for its funding. If you live in the United States, you can do even more right now to support VERITAS.

Jack: “Darby, what can people do if they want to see this mission succeed, like we at The Planetary Society do?”

Darby: “We on the VERITAS team are extremely grateful that The Planetary Society has taken on advocacy for this mission and for us in a way that we can't do by ourselves. To sign a petition and help VERITAS you can go to the website and look at the Action Center for the petition.”

The Planetary Society has prepared a letter that you can send to your representatives in Congress urging them to save this vital mission. With just a few clicks, you can write to Congress to ensure a launch date of 2029 for this important mission of exploration. Help make sure that the people with power over its fate get the message that VERITAS is worth saving. Click the link in the description right now to help save VERITAS.