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NASA to Send Crewed Mission to Venus as Training Ground for Mission to Mars

Apr 10, 2017 11:56 AM EDT

NASA is moving forward with its deep space exploration programs. Europa Clipper is on the move, but a new crewed mission is being planned; one that will send astronauts to planet Venus.

Not only will the mission pave the way to a more successful manned mission to Mars, it will also result in a better understanding of Venus. The manned mission to Venus serves as a training ground for the actual Journey to Mars.

Aside from that, the successful manned orbit in Venus will measure and test the capabilities of NASA's most powerful rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). SLS, along with the Orion capsule, are both being developed to successfully send humans to Mars.

NASA is reportedly talking to the Space Research Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences in order to create a joint exploration to Venus. The exploration aims to explore the "Earth's evil twin", according to a report.

The mission will not only focus on Venus' orbit. According to a study by NASA's Langley Research Center, the crewed 440-day Venus mission could be more interesting with the deployment of an inflatable habitat. With the habitat, the crew will be able to spend at least 30 days in the planet's atmosphere.

"Launch opportunities for a direct to Venus mission versus a direct-to-Mars mission are more, with Venus mission windows occurring approximately every 1.5 years and Mars mission windows every two years," Jeff Matthews, director of Venture Strategy & Research at The Space Frontier Foundation, said in an interview.

Scientists also revealed that many other options are being considered to prepare for the Journey to Mars, including a Venus flyby. This only means that sending humans to Venus' orbit is an exceptional move to guarantee a successful mission to Mars.

Being a pitstop or training ground, Venus is also an interesting planet to explore. The understanding of the planet's environment is also vital to science.

Experts say that Venus is strategically located at the inner side of the Solar System's habitable zone. Its surface pressure is 92 times stronger compared to Earth.

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