Venus: April 2017

The Kepler mission has revealed that Earth-sized planets are common, and dozens have been discovered to orbit in or near their host star's habitable zone. A major focus in astronomy is to determine which of these exoplanets are likely to have Earth-like properties that are amenable to follow-up with both ground- and future space-based surveys, with an ultimate goal of probing their atmospheres to look for signs of life. Venus-like atmospheres will be of particular interest in these surveys.

Why are the terrestrial planets so different? Venus should be the most Earth-like of all our planetary neighbours. Its size, bulk composition and distance from the Sun are very similar to those of the Earth.