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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – When it comes to picking planets, she has her favorite for sure.

Not Mars. Not Pluto, Not Jupiter.

Not Earth.

She says Earth is too crowded.

It’s Venus.

WGNO’s Bill Wood says there’s just something about Venus that speaks to Jennifer Whitten.

She teaches at Tulane.

She’s an assistant professor just now named one of 30 scientists about to blast off with NASA on a mission to Venus.

It’s called VERITAS.

VERITAS is an acronym.

It stands for Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSar, Topography and Spectroscopy.


“The VERITAS spacecraft will be launched on a rocket, then released into space, where it will cruise for approximately six months before entering orbit around Venus and then slowing down until it reaches the desired altitude above the planet’s surface,” Jennier Whitten says.’

Once it’s up there, it will be out there for about five years.

Jennifer Whitten will be taking lots of notes.

She already knows the average daily temperature on Venus is 880 degrees.

It’s the closest planet to the Earth.

And the closest planet to her heart.

As she says, “we’ll be there soon.”