Reminder: we need to send a solar flyer to the cloudtops of Venus

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This article from Space.com in October last year has a paragraph that demonstrates just how little we still know about Venus:

Venus Express' atmospheric dives revealed that the planet's polar atmosphere is about 60 percent thinner than predicted, researchers said. The team is trying to figure out what accounts for this surprising result.
That's right, not 0.6 percent, not 6 percent, 60 percent thinner than previously thought. We know a ridiculously small amount about our nearest planetary neighbor and twin. This area in the top part of Venus's atmosphere where superrotation occurs has hardly been explored at all (just a few hours thanks to Soviet balloon probes), and on top of that a mission to there would be both easy and cheap. Read about it here. Oh, and don't forget that there might be life there. I remain completely baffled that the possibility of life on Mars, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto is cause for billions in spending to investigate (and well-spent money, don't get me wrong), but a few hundred million to check out nearby Venus is somehow given no priority whatsoever.

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