NASA resurrects VERITAS mission to Venus

After a three-year setback, Mount Holyoke College professor M. Darby Dyar can breathe a sigh of relief as NASA has resurrected its VERITAS mission to Venus.

Following staffing and budgetary issues at NASA鈥檚 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a mission to Venus is back on track.

When NASA released its final budget this past week, Mount Holyoke Kennedy-Schelkunoff Professor of Astronomy M. Darby Dyar told Gizmodo in an email that she almost couldn鈥檛 believe what she was reading. Funding for , which stands for Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy, was back in the budget and is slated to launch in 2031.

鈥淭he nightmare is over,鈥 said Dyar, the deputy principal investigator of the VERITAS mission. 鈥淭o hear 鈥 that we have a launch date and a real budget is, honestly, hard to believe. I walked around last night asking people to pinch me to make sure I wasn鈥檛 dreaming!鈥

Initially, NASA had scheduled the VERITAS mission to launch in 2027 but ultimately after the agency cut back the mission鈥檚 funding.

In a previous article by the , Dyar said she was 鈥渉eartbroken鈥 over the news. Dyar and other scientists appealed to Congress to keep the mission on track for a launch before the end of this decade, as VERITAS would mark the first U.S. probe to orbit Venus in more than three decades.

鈥淚t鈥檚 been so tough to keep our spirits up!鈥 Dyar said. 鈥淏ut in the meantime, the team kept moving forward on a shoestring budget, planning, working to support our foreign partners, even mounting a field campaign in Iceland last summer.鈥

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