An artist’s conception shows the DAVINCI+ probe descending through Venus’ atmosphere on the end of a parachute. (NASA / GSFC Photo)

NASA has selected four proposed Discovery-class interplanetary missions to receive $3 million to flesh out their concepts, with the aim of choosing one or two of them next year for further funding.

Two of the proposed missions focus on Venus: DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus), which would send an spherical probe through Venus’ atmosphere to study the cloud-covered planet’s atmosphere all the way down to the surface; and VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography and Spectroscopy), which would map Venus with synthetic radar and an infrared imager.

The other two are Io Volcano Observer, which would observe Io, Jupiter’s

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