NASA project finalist researches Venus at University of Alaska Fairbanks

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Robert Herrick, a research professor at University of Alaska Fairbanks, is a member of a research team which has become one of four finalists in NASA’s Discovery Program.

Project VERITAS is one of four finalists chosen by NASA (Alex Bengel/KTVF)

The team’s project proposes to study the geology of Earth’s closest orbital neighbor, Venus, in order to theorize on Earth’s future. According to Herrick, Venus has value in such studies because of its similarities to Earth.

The project proposes to study if Venus was, at one time, habitable like Earth, and if so, what happened to change that.

Herrick said, "We really need to understand what happened to Venus versus Earth and resulted in Venus being uninhabitable and Earth being habitable and whether Venus was habitable in the past or not and things like this."

According to Herrick, the final decision for which project to adapt will depend on a number of factors, including scientific value and risk.

NASA’s decision regarding the winner or winners of the competition is expected in February 2021. If selected, the project, titled Project VERITAS, would launch for Venus in 2026.

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