Venus has a surface that is hot enough to melt lead and has a cloud of sulphuric acid.

A group of experts believe that our nearest neighbour should be the initial target for a crewed mission to another planet.

There are things that are not good. In a flyby mission, astronauts would have to look down at the planet from the safety of their craft, since walking on the surface would be unsurvivable.

It's possible to return to Venus in a year, compared to three years on Mars. According to a report presented at the International Astronautical Congress in Paris last week, a flyby could provide important experience for a long mission to Mars.

One of the proponents of the Venus flyby said that Venus gets a bad rap because it is difficult to navigate.

The current paradigm is to go to the moon. He said that they were trying to make the case for Venus.

Izenberg said there were arguments for including a Venus flyby into the Mars landing. The travel time and fuel needed to get to the red planet could be reduced by performing a slingshot around Venus. A flyby trip to Venus would be a natural step towards the ultimate goal.

He said that you could learn about how people work in deep space without committing to a full Mars mission. It would have a lot of cachet as you would be visiting another planet for the first time.

He said that we need to understand how we can get out of the cradle.

Scientists are interested in Venus. The discovery of thousands of exoplanets raises the question of how many might be able to sustain life, and scientists want to understand how and why Venus ended up with infernal surface conditions.

According to Izenberg, a Venus flyby doesn't yet have traction in the broader space travel community.

A report co-authored by the pair suggests that astronauts could use tele-operated rovers, drones and balloons to look for signs of past water and ancient life on Venus.

According to the report, there is every reason to believe that Venus will be a beautiful place.

Some people are not convinced by the concept. It isn't a good place to go. The thermal challenges for a human mission would be considerable, according to a space scientist at the University College London.

A human flyby wouldn't add very much to scientific exploration of Venus.