Everyone forgets about Venus because it isn't Mars. Or Saturn. Or Jupiter, for that matter. Or maybe it's because Venus is a toxic wasteland. Still, the second planet from the Sun deserves a little more credit than it currently gets. Recently, a team of researchers NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory dropped their latest design for a "clockwork" rover they hope will explore Venus -- and the concept art is delightfully twisted.
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Venus, arguably the most Earth-like world we know of, is an enigma. Despite decades of studying Venus from afar, and sending off probes to melt into metallic puddles on its surface, we still don't understand why our nearest neighbour is a toxic hellscape. But scientists hope to change that, with a bold new mission that would bring a taste of Venus' alien atmosphere back to Earth.
You might wonder why Mars gets all the interplanetary attention when Venus, our sister planet, is actually closer. Well, the hellish orb has the hottest surface in the solar system, hotter even than Mercury. Combined with its dense, caustic atmosphere, none of our computers can handle Venus for more than a few hours. Now, scientists think they have come up with a solution.
Video: This planet of ours, it ain't gonna last forever. And though who the heck knows what's going to happen to the world that far off into the future (or even after November 8), Life Noggin decided to conduct a little brain exercise about how we could convert a planet like Mars or Venus, or a moon like Europa, into a second Earth.
Venus is a blistering hellscape of a planet that melts anything it comes in contact with, right? Not entirely. The data from the European Space Agency's first mission to Venus is back, and with it comes some fascinating insights into our nearest neighbour's atmosphere. It turns out, parts of Venus are very, very cold.
Astronomical conjunctions occur when celestial objects appear close to one another in the night sky -- this happens all the time and they're not particularly unusual. But a conjunction happening tonight is notable in that it involves two very bright planets -- Venus and Jupiter -- and they will be closer together than they have been since Terminator 2 was in theatres.
There's a lot we can learn about Earth's atmosphere from studying Venus, however, it's Venus' crushingly thick air -- precisely what we want to study -- that is preventing us from sending manned missions there. But this radical zeppelin could finally help us unlock the secrets of our celestial neighbour.