So what about Earth's "sister" planet? Where's the love for Venus? [This question is all the more ironic given that in Roman mythology, Venus was the goddess of love, beauty, sex, and all that.]
Well, I am not going to sit idly and do nothing. I'm going to start giving Venus more of the attention it sorely deserves! Here are some of my reasons:
- Venus is right there every night (well, most nights)! It's the second-brightest object in the night sky, and its phases can be observed with binoculars.
- It is the closest-approaching planet to Earth (38 million kilometers at its closest)
- It is roughly the same size and mass as Earth
- It has an honest-to-goodness atmosphere
- It possesses the most similar environment to Earth conditions in the solar system1
- It may have harbored life in its early days
I've been interested in Venus for quite some time, and have always wanted to dig a little deeper into the subject. Be careful what you wish for! I'm currently taking a UND grad course in Astrobiology, and our final assignment is to write a literature review on an astrobiological subject. I chose Venus, so it's going to be all Venus, all the time for me.
I'll do what I can to share interesting snippets here on the blog as I go, but I also plan to write some topical articles such as:
- Robotic Missions to Venus: Past, Present
- Robotic Missions to Venus: Proposed
- The Case for Human Missions to Venus
- Venus Facts You Should Know
Check back, I'll try to keep the material coming every week or so for a while.
1. This is not at the surface... it is about 50km up into the Venusian atmosphere.