Venus could unlock the secrets of habitability in our solar system and beyond

Venus seen by Mariner 10 in 1974. Photo: NASA

Venus is sometimes considered Earth’s "evil twin," and yet we know frustratingly little about it, creating a blind spot in our own history.

The big picture: NASA has prioritized Mars, Earth's other sibling planet. The space agency has launched more than a dozen spacecraft to study the red world over the past 30 years and is planning to eventually send humans there. Meanwhile, in that time, NASA only launched one dedicated mission — Magellan — to Venus.

NASA's InSight lander detects its first "Marsquake"

NASA's InSight lander's seismometer on Mars.
NASA's InSight lander's seismometer on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On April 6, NASA's InSight lander measured its first quake on Mars, a significant milestone for the spacecraft.

Why it matters: InSight was sent to Mars specifically to measure seismic activity on the Red Planet. The "Marsquake" it felt earlier this month was small, but it marks the lander's first likely detection of a quake. NASA hopes to use seismic data collected by InSight to map Mars' interior, potentially helping scientists understand how the world formed.