It’s been 30 years since a NASA spacecraft went to Venus, a yellowish planet 67 million miles from the Sun and 141 million miles from us. Venus is often thought of as a sibling planet to Earth, both being rocky worlds close enough to the Sun to bask in its heat. And yet, at some point in their histories, the two worlds diverged in an extreme way.
In 2021, NASA and the European Space Agency announced three new spacecraft that will launch for Venus around 2030, missions that will provide a major upgrade to our knowledge of the hot, toxic world. Here are some of the very weird aspects of Venus that make it such an exciting target for our scientific probes.
A version of this article was originally published on June 25, 2021.