NASA is thinking about approving by next April up to two planetary science missions from four proposals under audit, including one to Venus that researchers associated with the project said could help decide if that planet harbors life.
An international research group on Monday portrayed proof of potential microbes living in the cruelly acidic Venusian clouds: traces of phosphine, a gas that on Earth is created by bacteria inhabiting without oxygen environments. It gave solid possible proof of life past Earth.
The U.S. space organization in February shortlisted four proposed missions that are presently being inspected by a NASA board, two of which would include robotic probes to Venus. One of those, called DAVINCI+, would send a probes into the Venusian atmosphere.
“Davinci is the logical one to choose if you’re motivated in part by wanting to follow this up – because the way to follow this up is to actually go there and see what’s going on in the atmosphere,” David Grinspoon, an astrobiologist working on the DAVINCI+ proposal, told Reuters on Tuesday.
The three different recommendations include: IVO, a mission to Jupiter’s volcanically active moon Io; Trident, a fly-by trip to map Neptune’s icy moon Triton; and VERITAS, the second of the proposed Venus missions that rather would focus on understanding the planet’s geological history. NASA has said it might pick a couple of the missions.
The quest forever somewhere else in the close planetary system has as of not long ago not zeroed in on Venus. Truth be told, NASA in July launched a next-generation meanderer to search for hints of potential previous existence on Mars.
In light of Monday’s findings, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said that is “time to prioritize Venus.” In a statement, Bridenstine said the selection process for the new potential missions will be tough “but I know the process will be fair and unbiased.”
Grinspoon, a senior researcher at the Planetary Science Institute, said the selection process ought to be responsive to recent scientific revelations.
“If there was a mission to Triton as a finalist, and then somebody with a telescope observed, you know, a soccer stadium on Triton, then arguably yeah, we should send a mission there,” Grinspoon said.