New missions will look for life on Venus

Odd one out: Venus is the only planet in the Solar System to spin clockwise. © NASA

Will we find life on our next-door planet? NASA is planning to send two missions to Venus by 2030. They hope to find proof that our neighbouring planet was once home to alien life.

What’s happening

In a solar system in the Milky Way, there was once a beautiful blue-green planet. It had oceans, rain and snow. There were continents with mountains. There were rivers. And there was maybe even life.

Today, it looks different. There is no water. The air is poisonous. It is 470 C. We call it Venus.

Find out more

For a long time, nobody thought there could ever be life on Venus. It is hot and dangerous. But this was not always true.

Millions of years ago, Venus looked a lot more like Earth. It was cooler. It had water and land much as we do now. In fact, some people think it was so similar they call it Earth’s “twin”.

Now, experts say there was probably life there, too.

NASA is now planning trips to find out more about the history of the planet. They are called DAVINCI and VERITAS. They will study the “lost habitable” world of Venus.

The missions will give us a chance to find out why Venus has changed so much. And they could teach us more about planets in other solar systems.

Will we find life on Venus?

Some say…

Probably not. The surface of Venus gets far too hot for anything to survive. The gases in its atmosphere are poisonous. Nothing could possibly live there. And even if aliens once lived on Venus, it will be difficult to find proof. We should not get our hopes up.

Others think…

Maybe! Even if there is no life on Venus now, there may have been in the past. The NASA missions will be able to study the history of the planet. We will find out more than we have ever known before. This could help us discover if there was life in the past. And it could help us learn more about planets outside our own solar system too!

You Decide

  1. Would you like to move to another planet?

Activities

  1. Imagine you have landed on Venus with the first ever human crew. Make a postcard to send home and write a message on the back explaining what it is like.

Some People Say...

“I believe alien life is quite common in the universe.”

Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018), British physicist

What do you think?

Word Watch

Milky Way
The galaxy containing our solar system.
Continents
A continent is a large solid area of land. Earth has seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australasia.
470 C
The hottest temperature ever measured on Earth was 56.7 C.
DAVINCI
Leonardo Da Vinci was an Italian scientist, engineer and artist.
VERITAS
Vertias means truth in Latin.
Habitable
Suitable or fit to live in.
Atmosphere
The blanket of gases that surrounds a planet. Earth's atmosphere makes sure it never gets too hot or too cold. And it helps us breathe.

Subjects

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