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