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Scientist to Discuss Venus, ‘the Forgotten, Mysterious Planet,’ at Library of Congress Lecture

The public is invited to a free talk called “Venus — the Forgotten, Mysterious Planet” with Lori Glaze in the Pickford Theater, third floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Aug. 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT.

The Magellan probe that orbited Venus from 1990 to 1994 was able to peer through the thick Venusian clouds
The Magellan probe that orbited Venus from 1990 to 1994 was able to peer through the thick Venusian clouds and build up the above image by emitting and re-detecting cloud-penetrating radar. Visible as the bright patch below central North is Venus’ highest mountain Maxwell Montes. Other notable features include numerous mountains, coronas, impact craters, tessera, ridges, and lava flows. Credits: NASA

Glaze will take attendees on a tour of what we know about Venus, what mysteries we need to solve, and what future spacecraft and instrument technologies could help us answer our questions.

Compared to Earth and Mars, we know very little about the early history and evolution of Venus. Despite the likelihood that Venus was very similar to Earth after formation, the two planets followed vastly different evolutionary pathways. Venus is a planet of extremes. It now hosts a runaway greenhouse atmosphere composed almost entirely of carbon dioxide, sulfuric acid clouds and surface temperatures that could melt lead.  When, how, and why Venus’ evolution diverged from Earth is unknown, yet better understanding of why Venus is the way it is today is critical to interpreting new observations of exoplanets that have been found around other stars in our galaxy.

Glaze is the principal investigator for a proposed mission to Venus, known as the Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry and Imaging, or DAVINCI. This mission would send a probe on a journey down through Venus’ atmosphere, winding up in the planet’s roughest and most geologically complex terrain, and in the process, examine the planet’s atmosphere from top to bottom for the first time in nearly four decades. Her research interests include physical processes in terrestrial and planetary volcanology, atmospheric transport and diffusion processes, and geologic mass movements.

The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world. The Science, Technology and Business Division provides reference and bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics.

The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world and holds nearly 151.8 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The library serves Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website.
For inquiries about this or upcoming talks at the Library of Congress, the public can contact the library’s Science, Technology and Business Division at 202-707-5664. ADA accommodations should be requested five business days in advance at 202-707-6382 (voice/tty) or

Lori Gaze
Lori Glaze is the Principal Investigator for the proposed mission to Venus known as the Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging, or DAVINCI. Credits: NASA

The lecture will be later broadcast on the library’s webcast page and YouTube channel “Topics in Science” playlist.

For more information contact Stephanie Marcus at 202-707-1212 or or visit:

For directions, visit:

For more information about Lori Glaze, visit: 

For more information about Venus, visit:

Banner Image Venus through time: from 4 billion years ago when Venus was an ocean world, to the desiccated Venus of today. 

Credit: NASA/Lori Glaze

Rob Gutro / Lora Bleacher
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
301-286-0697 / 2009 /