Experts say a crewed visit to Earth's 'sister' planet, Venus, should happen before a Mars mission

Experts say a crewed visit to Earth's 'sister' planet, Venus, should happen before a Mars mission
Illustration of the Solar System
Illustration of the Solar System viewed from beyond Neptune, with all eight planets visible around the Sun.Tobias Roetsch/Future Publishing via Getty Images
  • Some scientists are calling for a crewed mission to Venus en route to Mars.

  • Venus is a valuable target for studies despite its hostile surface environment, said Noam Izenberg.

  • In a report, Izenberg described Venus as "an endless wonderland of beguiling and mysterious vistas."

Some scientists are making a case for sending a crewed mission to examine Venus en route to Mars.

The Guardian reported on a new proposal from scientist Noam Izenberg, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University's applied physics laboratory. Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in Paris, Izenberg advocated for a flyby examination of Venus, a planet far closer to the Earth than Mars.

"Venus gets a bad rap because it's got such a difficult surface environment," said Izenberg, per The Guardian.

"The current Nasa paradigm is moon-to-Mars. We're trying to make the case for Venus as an additional target on that pathway," Izenberg added, per the outlet.

Venus is known, per NASA, as Earth's twin, because of its similar size and structure. However, it is largely inhospitable to human life, given its surface temperature of nearly 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Izenberg has argued for the Venus flyby in several reports. In 2020, he proposed that a crewed Venus flyby en route to Mars would essentially be a "two planets for the price of one-plus" opportunity for space research.

In a 2022 submission to the Keck Institute for Space Studies at the California Institute of Technology, Izenberg and his co-authors — Mallory Lefland and Alexander MacDonald — again pushed for more effort to be made in studying Venus.

"Venus is 'Venera Incognito,' a vast, almost completely unexplored world of great variety, mystery, and beauty, with an area of unknown lands several times the land area of Earth," they wrote in the report.

The authors also argued that Venus is "the most Earth-like and Earth-relevant world we will ever get to explore up close," adding that they believed the planet to be "an endless wonderland of beguiling and mysterious vistas and formations."

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