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Venus Flagship Mission Study

Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG)

The United States Venus science and technology community is represented by the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG), which was established by NASA in July 2005 to identify scientific priorities and strategy for exploration of Venus. VEXAG is currently composed of two co-chairs, Sue Smrekar and Sanjay Limaye, and four
focus groups. Past VEXAG chairs and co-chairs were Ellen Stofan, Sushil Atreya, and Janet Luhmann.

The Focus Groups are:

  • Venus-Earth Climate Connections; Lead by David Grinspoon, Denver Museum of Nature & Science
  • Venus Exploration Laboratory Measurements; Lead by Mark Allen, JPL,
  • Planetary Formation and Evolution: Surface and Interior, Volcanism, Geodynamics, etc. Focus Group Lead: Steve Mackwell, LPI
  • Atmospheric Evolution: Dynamics/Meteorology, Chemistry, Solar Wind Interaction, Escape, etc. Focus Group Lead: Kevin Baines, JPL
  • Venus Exploration Technologies; Lead by James Cutts, JPL

In addition to interested members of the scientific community, each focus group will include technology experts, NASA representatives, international partner representatives, Education and Public Outreach (EPO) experts, and the VEXAG chair. The current focus groups and their leads are listed above. Other focus groups may be added, as needed.

NASA and LPI contacts:
Dr. Adriana Ocampo, NASA Headquarters
Dr. Thomas W. Thompson, NASA/JPL
Dr. Steve Mackwell, LPI

The focus groups will actively solicit input from the scientific community. VEXAG will report its findings and provide input to NASA, but will not make recommendations.

Further information on VEXAG and its activities can be found at:

European Venus Explorer (EVE)

In Europe, the European Venus Explorer (EVE) is a mission proposed to the European Space Agency (ESA). While it was not selected in the first round under ESA’s Cosmic Vision program, the mission will be re-proposed for the next opportunity, to be launched after 2020. The EVE mission would focus on the evolution of Venus and its climate, with relevance to terrestrial planets everywhere. The originally proposed architecture included an orbiter, a cloud level balloon, and a lander. This would be an international project, with participation from across Europe, Russia, the USA, Japan and Canada. Further details can be found at: