Did Venus have life? NASA's DAVINCI Mission to unravel unsolved mysteries of the planet 

NASA's DAVINCI mission will study the origin, evolution and present state of Venus in great detail from the top of the clouds to the planet’s surface. 

NASA's DAVINCI Mission to unravel unsolved mysteries of the planet 
NASA's DAVINCI Mission to unravel unsolved mysteries of the planet 

Did Venus have water?  NASA's DAVINCI mission (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) to Venus is planned for launch in 2029. The mission will send a spacecraft and probe to Venus to look into the unsolved mysteries of the planet.

The DAVINCI mission will perform two flybys of Venus before taking a plunge through the layered atmosphere to attempt landing on the surface of the planet in mid-2031. NASA Scientists have new details about the DAVINCI mission in a recently published paper.

NASA's DAVINCI mission will be the first-ever mission to Venus using both spacecraft flybys and a descent probe. During flybys, the spacecraft will take measurements of the clouds and ultraviolet absorption on the Venusian day side and also take measurements of the heat emanating from the planet’s surface on the night side. 

READ: NASA announces plans to launch two new missions to Venus, its first in decades

What is DAVINCI Mission?

DAVINCI is short for Deep Atmosphre Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry and Imaging. The mission has been named after the Renaissance artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci.

DAVINCI Mission Launch Date- 2029 

DAVINCI Mission Objective: 7 Important Facts

1. The DAVINCI mission will study the origin, evolution and present state of Venus in great detail from the top of the clouds to the planet’s surface. 

2. The mission's goal is to unravel longstanding mysteries around Venus, especially whether it had water and was habitable like Earth. 

3. The spacecraft will first conduct two gravity assist flybys, during which the mission will study the cloud tops in ultraviolet light and also examine the heat emanating from the Venus surface on the planet's night side.

4. The mission will be looking for geological clues of the planet's mysterious past by exploring the top of Venus’s atmosphere and the composition of a mountainous region known as Alpha Region.

5. The mission will carry a descent probe that will enter the Venus atmosphere two years after the launch. The descent sphere will ingest and analise atmospheric gases and collect images as it descends to the surface of the planet at the Alpha Regio region.

6. The DAVINCI spacecraft will thereafter act as a telecommunications hub and will relay relaying information from the probe to the Earth. 

7. It will also use its two onboard instruments to study Venusian clouds and map its highland areas as it flies by the planet.


    • The DAVINCI's descent sphere will land on the Venusian surface in 2031. The spherical probe is made up of Titanium, one of the world's strongest metals. It is about 1 meter or 3 feet  wide. 
    • It will be carrying five scientific instruments, all of which have been built to withstand the extreme environment on Venus including crushing air pressure, acid clouds and extremely hot surface that can even melt lead.
    • Venus’s atmosphere is almost 90 times thicker than Earth’s atmosphere and this will make the descent probe will slow down naturally, settling like a stone in water.
    • The descent probe is not required to survive landing, but if it does, it could provide up to an additional 17 minutes of data. 
    • While 17 minutes does not seem like a lot of time by Earth standards, but given how hard it is for instruments to operate in tough Venus environment, every additional minute of science is invaluable.

DAVINCI's Instruments-

1. Venus Tunable Laser Spectrometer (VTLS) - It will measure isotopes in the Venus atmospheric chemical compounds to offer clues to Venus’s past.

2. Venus Mass Spectrometer (VMS)- It will study the atmosphere of Venus including noble gases to understand Venus’s past and present.

3. Venus Atmosphere Structure Investigation (VASI) - It will measure pressure, temperature and wind speed throughout the descent probe’s descent.

4. Venus Descent Imager (VenDI)- The infrared camera will snap the first up-close images of the composition and relief of Alpha Regio, which may be the oldest surface on the planet.

5. Venus Imaging System for Observational Reconnaissance (VISOR)- The four VISOR cameras will take ultraviolet images of cloud motions and capture near-infrared images to reveal heat emanating from the planet’s surface, which will help scientists determine its composition.

6. Venus Oxygen Fugacity (VfOx) - The sensor, a student-built, dime-sized instrument will measure oxygen in the lowest part of the atmosphere.

7. Compact Ultraviolet to Visible Imaging Spectrometer (CUVIS)- It will test new technologies to help identify a mysterious compound in the atmosphere called the “unknown absorber” that soaks up half the incoming sunlight.

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