NASA plans two missions to Venus

The US space agency NASA says it is planning a pair of missions to Venus to study its atmosphere and geological features. Venus is the closest planet to the Earth.

NASA's new administrator, Bill Nelson, announced the missions to the planet on Wednesday. They will be the first US-led missions to Venus since the Magellan probe was launched in 1989 and reached the planet the following year.

One of the missions, named DAVINCI+, aims to investigate how the atmosphere of Venus was formed and whether the planet ever had an ocean. A descent probe will be dropped down into the atmosphere to collect data.

The other mission, named VERITAS, will map the planet's surface to help determine its geological history.

NASA plans to launch the two missions between 2028 and 2030.

Nelson said the missions "will offer the entire science community the chance to investigate a planet we haven't been to in more than 30 years."

Venus has a harsh environment with extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. NASA hopes to clarify why Venus has such a different environment from the Earth, even though the two planets were formed at around the same time.