NASA Just Broke the ‘Venus Curse’: Here’s What It Took

NASA Just Broke the ‘Venus Curse’: Here’s What It Took

Fittingly, the very first mission Smrekar worked on was NASA’s ambitious (and wildly successful) Venus orbiter Magellan. Sue Smrekar, a planetary geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and principal investigator of the proposed VERITAS mission to Venus. Multiple successful Venera landings helped nudge NASA back to Venus in 1978 with the launch of the Pioneer mission, an orbiter-probe combo. After the Soviets flew two showy balloon-lofted probes through the planet’s atmosphere, NASA upped the ante with the radar-wielding Magellan orbiter. Credit: NASA and GSFCIf Venus was indeed a water world for eons, then it also must have had plate tectonics.

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