Mars is a mistake? First human mission must be to Venus, say experts
Although it is called Earth's twin, Venus is anything but. According to NASA, Venus is nearly identical in shape and density to Earth but its atmosphere is toxic and filled with carbon dioxide. Its sulfuric acid-based clouds rain down toxic acid which destroys everything in its path, a stark contrast to Earth's atmosphere where life thrives. But experts still advocate a trip to the neighbouring planet for the first crewed mission to another planet.
According to The Guardian, in a report presented at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris last week, experts have called for a mission to Venus instead of Mars. Although Mars' conditions are harsh, experts still consider it more viable due to its close proximity to Earth, taking an year to complete a return mission.
Dr Noam Izenberg of the Johns Hopkins University applied physics laboratory and one of the proponents of the Venus flyby said as per The Guardian, “Venus gets a bad rap because it's got such a difficult surface environment.”
“The current Nasa paradigm is moon-to-Mars. We're trying to make the case for Venus as an additional target on that pathway,” he added further, as per the Guardian. Izenberg has advocated for Venus missions previously in 2020 where he stated that a crewed mission to Venus could take place enroute Mars trip.
First private mission to Venus
Not only Government space agencies, but private space companies are also determined to search for signs of life on other planets. A private space company called Rocket Lab is getting ready to send its spacecraft to Venus next year to search for signs of life.
Although more than 30 missions to Venus have already been carried out by space agencies around the globe, this will be the first time a private company is at the forefront of the mission.
In 2020, scientists at Cardiff University and MIT University announced they had found signs of life in the clouds of Venus through an indication of Phosphine gas which is usually produced by living organisms. To study this, Rocket Lab will send a mission to Venus in 2023 to search for any other signs of life.