Back to Venus: Upstart company wants to beat NASA in search for life

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fairly difficult
Can a small American aerospace company get to Venus before NASA returns to our superheated planetary neighbor? That's what Peter Beck, the CEO of Rocket Lab, is hoping as he sets his sights on launching a low-cost probe in 2023.
Can a small American aerospace company get to Venus before NASA returns to our superheated planetary neighbor?

That's what Peter Beck, the CEO of Rocket Lab, is hoping as he sets his sights on launching a low-cost probe in 2023.

Over the past decade his company has become very good at putting satellites in to orbit -- and his dream of taking the next step, an interplanetary mission, has received a shot of adrenaline recently with the surprising discovery of a gas linked to living organisms in Venus's corrosive, sulfuric atmosphere.

"What we're looking for on Mars is signs of previous life," Beck explains.

"Whereas Venus, it's signs of potential life now."

With its hellish landscape, Venus has been largely neglected by the major space agencies since the 1980s in favor of the Solar System's more distant bodies.

Dozens of missions have notably been sent to Mars seeking signs of ancient microbes.

But the discovery by Earth-based radio telescopes of a gas called phosphine in Venus' atmosphere, reported on Sept. 14, sparked a new wave of enthusiasm among scientists who had for years defended the hypothesis that tiny organisms could live in the planet's clouds.

Phosphine isn't definitive proof of life. But it is possible its presence is linked to living organisms, as it is on our planet.

The finding led NASA to declare it was time to once more prioritize Venus.

Beck, however, has always been in the pro-Venus…
The Jakarta Post
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