The second mission, VERITAS, led by Suzanne Smrekar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will update and upgrade the maps taken by Magellen. It will record the surface elevations over __ of the planet. Using a method called synthetic aperture radar, the probe will be able to map the surface with high fidelity that was previously unavailable. With this new data, planetary scientists hope to study whether or not Venus has plate tectonics like it’s neighbor. This study may also illuminate how plate tectonics began on our own planet. Venus’ hot atmosphere has allowed the crust to retain hot temperatures similar to early Earth and may show how the crust cracked and formed tectonic plates. VERTITAS will also start mapping Venus in infrared. In the infrared spectrum, we will be able to differentiate different rock types and minerals. In addition, it will be able to detect volcanic activity when hot water vapor is released into the atmosphere.
Each of the two missions was awarded $500 million and will jumpstart Venus science for the first time in 30 years. They are expected to launch in 2028-2030.