Caltech Logo

DIX Planetary Science Seminar

Tuesday, November 2, 2021
4:00pm to 5:00pm
Add to Cal
Arms 155 (Robert P. Sharp Lecture Hall)
Preparing for the Next Decade of Venus Exploration
Alex Akins, Research Technologist, Microwave Instrument Science Group, JPL,

With the recent selection of Discovery-class VERITAS and DAVINCI (NASA) and the M-class EnVision (ESA) missions, the period between 2025 and 2035 promises to be one of exciting progress in our understanding of the surface and lower atmosphere of Venus. VERITAS and EnVision will return the new radar maps of geological activity on the surface of Venus, and DAVINCI will sample the lower atmosphere for the first time in the 20th century (and image the tesserae on descent). Several other space agencies, such as ISRO and Roscosmos, have also expressed interest in Venus exploration during the next decade.  In this seminar, we will discuss how the questions that we ask about Venus have changed over time. Prior to the measurements of Mariner 2 in the 1960's, many held optimism could be conventionally habitable. Since the foundational results of the 70's and 80's, our focus has shifted more towards how Venus and Earth have diverged. We will then discuss currently unanswered questions in our picture of Venus' evolution and how new missions, planned and proposed, intend to answer them. Finally, we'll consider how the scientific community can make the most out of the coming decade with a focus on laboratory experiments, Earth-based observations, and modeling.

For more information, please contact Maria Camarca by email at