DAVINCI

Launching in 2029, NASA’s Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry and Imaging (DAVINCI) mission will bring a rich suite of instruments to Venus to address long standing questions about Earth’s sister planet. Some scientists think Venus may once have been more Earth-like in the past, with oceans and pleasant surface temperatures -- DAVINCI data will help us determine if this intriguing possibility is true. Clues to Venus’ mysterious past may be hidden in atmospheric gases or in surface rocks formed in association with ancient water in the planet’s mountainous highlands.

Content Contact:

Videos

  • DAVINCI Probe's Eye View
    2021.07.27
    The Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry and Imaging or DAVINCI mission will bring the best possible instrumentation to the massive Venus atmosphere to decipher its evolutionary history, the role of water perhaps as oceans, and how it may inform how we investigate exo-planets around nearby stars. Named in honor of the Renaissance visionary Leonardo da Vinci, this new NASA mission to Venus will send a meter-diameter “Probe” to Venus in 2029 bristling with instruments that can measure the atmosphere and surface in ways not possible in the past 50 years of exploration, building off what has been successful at Mars on the Curiosity rover. DAVINCI’s transect of the Venus atmosphere from near the cloud-tops to the surface in an ancient continental region known as Alpha Regio (more than two times the size of Texas) will put Venus into context relative to Earth and Mars, and enable our sister planet Venus to contribute to the understanding of rocky, atmosphere-bearing exoplanets that will be explored by new Astrophysical observatories such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). DAVINCI’s mission includes two compelling flybys of Venus prior to “taking the plunge” with the Probe spacecraft which will acquire movies of cloud motions and search for clues to mystery chemical absorbers in the highest altitude clouds. The descent camera on DAVINCI will enable human-scale imaging of the enigmatic ‘tessera’ highlands of Venus with direct information on composition and relief. These measurements will serve as a legacy for decades to come as other missions map Venus from orbit and prepare for an era of potentially astrobiological reconnaissance of our magical sister world. DAVINCI is a partnership between NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, MD) and Lockheed Martin (Denver, CO), with instruments from NASA’s Goddard, JPL, Malin Space Science Systems, and key supporting hardware from Johns Hopkins APL and the University of Michigan.
  • The DAVINCI Mission to Venus
    2021.11.09
    Launching in 2029, NASA’s Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry and Imaging (DAVINCI) mission will bring a rich suite of instruments to Venus to address long standing questions about Earth’s sister planet. Some scientists think Venus may once have been more Earth-like in the past, with oceans and pleasant surface temperatures -- DAVINCI data will help us determine if this intriguing possibility is true. Clues to Venus’ mysterious past may be hidden in atmospheric gases or in surface rocks formed in association with ancient water in the planet’s mountainous highlands. During two flybys, the DAVINCI carrier, relay, and imaging spacecraft will collect data on the planet’s day side of unknown compounds that absorb ultraviolet light in the Venus upper atmosphere with an instrument called the Compact Ultraviolet to Visible Imaging Spectrometer (CUVIS); on the planet’s night side, the Venus Imaging System for Observational Reconnaissance (VISOR) will sense heat from Venus’ surface emerging from beneath the clouds to help us better understand the composition of diverse geological highlands regions across Venus. VISOR will also study clouds on the Venus day side in the ultraviolet, producing cloud motion movies. Venus has a scorching surface hotter than your home oven, and a complex atmosphere 90 times thicker than Earth’s made mostly of carbon dioxide and with sulfuric acid clouds. Two years after launch, the DAVINCI descent sphere will by dropped by the carrier spacecraft into this extreme environment to provide new direct measurements of the Venus atmosphere, and to reveal a bird’s eye view of the surface below the clouds. The descent location, the Alpha Regio “tessera,”is a mountainous highland region whose rocks may hold clues to the planet’s mysterious past. The titanium sphere is designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the Venus environment while protecting the instruments nestled inside. The Venus Tunable Laser Spectrometer (VTLS) will measure key gases that offer clues to the planet’s past, including compounds that may hint at the possible history of past water. The Venus Mass Spectrometer (VMS) will study the atmosphere in detail, including noble gases and trace gases from 67 km to the near surface. The Venus Atmospheric Structure Investigation (VASI) will measure pressure, temperature, and winds throughout the descent. Peering through a transparent sapphire window at the bottom of the descent sphere, the Venus Descent Imager (VenDI) will map the 3-D topography and composition of Alpha Regio, with topographic resolution at up to sub-meter scales. Lastly, a student collaboration experiment called the Venus Oxygen Fugacity experiment (VfOx) will be mounted to the probe to measure oxygen in the deep atmosphere. Together, this set of data will help rewrite the textbooks on Venus and may even help us better understand Venus-like planets in other solar systems. DAVINCI is a partnership between NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Lockheed Martin in Denver, Colorado, with instruments from NASA’s Goddard, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Malin Space Science Systems, and key supporting hardware from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the University of Michigan.
  • The Mysterious Planet
    2019.10.28
    Our galaxy contains billions of other planets, but we know very little about them. If we had the chance to study one of these exoplanets in greater detail, and could find one with similar characteristics as Earth, scientists could learn a great deal more about planetary evolution and habitability. Surprisingly, there is a nearby planet we could study right now in greater depth that would not only teach us about our planet, but also about many exoplanets. This planet is our neighbor Venus, and this video unveils details on this mysterious nearby world, and serves as a call to action to explore its many features. Venus-like exoplanets may represent one of the most common and observable types of worlds, and the history of Venus may be the key to understanding the evolution of habitability as a planetary process.
  • Ten Mysteries of Venus
    2021.10.20
    The surface of Venus is completely inhospitable for life: barren, dry, crushed under an atmosphere about 90 times the pressure of Earth’s and roasted by temperatures two times hotter than an oven. But was it always that way? Could Venus once have been a twin of Earth - a habitable world with liquid water oceans? This is one of the many mysteries associated with our shrouded sister world. 27 years have passed since NASA’s Magellan mission last orbited Venus. That was NASA’s most recent mission to Earth’s sister planet, and while we have gained significant knowledge of Venus since then, there are still numerous mysteries about the planet that remain unsolved. NASA’s DAVINCI (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) mission hopes to change that.
  • Venus in a Minute
    2020.07.21
    Our sister planet Venus could serve as a model for many exo-planets soon to be discovered in the upcoming era of new space telescopes such as James Webb and others. Venus may have been far more Earth-like than its present climate state, which is inhospitable and more like that inside a pressure-cooker oven with surface temperatures of 450 C and pressures equivalent to 1000m under the sea. How did Venus evolve from a past "habitable" state to its present one, and how does that help us understand our own destiny?
  • Evolution of Venus Animations
    2020.02.04
    These animations were created to show the evolution of Venus's landscape over time.

Press Briefings and Interviews

  • Quickshot: Skywatchers Delight! July 12-13 Venus and Mars Will Appear Extra Close To Each Other In Night Sky
    2021.07.09
    Skywatchers are in for a treat next week! During the month of July, Earth’s closest neighbors - Venus and Mars - have been getting ever-closer together in the night sky. On the night of July 12th, into the early hours of the 13th, Venus and Mars will be at their closest. It’s called a planetary conjunction, and they’ll be easily visible in the same field of view despite being very far away from each other. Both Venus and Mars are targets for the next generation of space exploration, with new missions to study VENUS having recently been announced by NASA. DAVINCI Principal Investigator, Jim Garvin, and Deputy Principal Investigator Giada Arney provide a look into this astronomical event and the upcoming missions to study one of our nearest planetary neighbors. Suggested Questions: What does it mean when there’s a conjunction in the night sky? How can our viewers spot Venus and Mars? Venus has been quite a topic lately, can you tell us about the new missions NASA is sending to study it? Why do scientists want to study Venus? Where can our viewers go to learn more? Questions? Contact christina.b.mitchell@nasa.gov Participating Scientists: Jim Garvin / DAVINCI Principal Investigator Giada Arney / DAVINCI Deputy Principal Investigator ** Introducing Quick Shots! ** An innovative and easy way to download and use broadcast-ready NASA stories, b-roll, and canned interviews by media, social media influencers, and educators across the world. Think news gathering service, but for NASA stories. Everyone is busy these days so we want to make it easy for interesting, visually-driven NASA material to be downloadable and primed for use. Sometimes you just want to run a short voiceover or voiceover with a soundbite but don’t have time to search through mountains of material. NASA Quick Shots has you covered. Contact michelle.z.handleman@nasa.gov and christina.b.mitchell@nasa.gov for more information.