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Latest Venus Express Stories

Spacecraft Helps Discover Ozone Layer On Venus
2011-10-06 09:31:01

[ Watch the Video ] The European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft has discovered an ozone layer in the atmosphere of Venus. The spacecraft made the discovery while watching stars from the edge of the planet seen through its atmosphere. SPICAV, an instrument aboard Venus Express, analyzed the starlight and found characteristic fingerprints of gases in the atmosphere as they absorbed light. ESA said the ozone was detectable because it absorbed some of the ultraviolet from the...

2011-04-08 11:54:47

New analysis of images taken by ESA's Venus Express orbiter has revealed surprising details about the remarkable, shape-shifting collar of clouds that swirls around the planet's South Pole. This fast-moving feature is all the more surprising since its center of rotation is typically offset from the geographical pole. The results of this study are published online in Science Express today. Several planets in the Solar System, including Earth, have been found to possess hurricane-like polar...

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2010-11-23 07:30:37

ESA has decided to extend the productive lives of 11 of its operating space science missions. This will enable ESA's world-class science missions to continue returning pioneering results until at least 2014. ESA's Science Program Committee (SPC) had to make significant decisions at its 18-19 November meeting in Paris: 11 science missions, all of them still working beyond their planned lifetimes, all of them still delivering exceptional science, and yet all coming to the end of their funding....

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2010-10-07 09:40:00

The polar atmosphere of Venus is thinner than expected. How do we know? Because ESA's Venus Express has actually been there. Instead of looking from orbit, Venus Express has flown through the upper reaches of the planet's poisonous atmosphere. Venus Express went diving into the alien atmosphere during a series of low passes in July"“August 2008, October 2009, and February and April 2010. The aim was to measure the density of the upper polar atmosphere, an experiment that had never been...

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2010-09-27 07:00:00

Despite the great differences between the atmospheres of Venus and Earth, scientists have discovered that very similar mechanisms produce lightning on the two planets. The rates of discharge, the intensity and the spatial distribution of lightning are comparable, thus scientists hope to be able to better understand the chemistry, dynamics and evolution of the atmospheres of the two planets. These results were presented by Dr. Christopher Russell at the European Planetary Science Congress, on...

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2010-04-21 08:20:27

Venus Express has completed an 'aerodrag' campaign that used its solar wings as sails to catch faint wisps of the planet's atmosphere. The test used the orbiter as an exquisitely accurate sensor to measure atmospheric density barely 180 km above the hot planet. During five aerodrag measurements last week, Venus Express' solar arrays and control systems were operated as one big flying sensor, with the solar arrays rotated at various angles to the direction of flight. The special configuration...

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2010-04-14 09:07:53

Scientists from the University of Leicester have used observations from NASA's STEREO and ACE satellites to come up with more accurate predictions of when blasts of solar wind will reach Earth, Venus and Mars.  Anthony Williams will present the results at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Glasgow on Wednesday April 14th. We have recently been experiencing an unusually quiet and long-lasting solar minimum, and solar storms caused by Coronal Mass Ejections have been scarce. ...

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2009-02-24 10:35:00

ESA's Venus Express spacecraft has observed an eerie glow in the night-time atmosphere of Venus. This infrared light comes from nitric oxide and is showing scientists that the atmosphere of Earth's nearest neighbor is a temperamental place of high winds and turbulence. Unfortunately, the glow on Venus cannot be seen with the naked eye because it occurs at the invisible wavelengths of infrared. ESA's Venus Express, however, is equipped with the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer...

2009-02-10 12:47:09

The European Space Agency says it is extending the operations of its Mars Express, Venus Express and Cluster missions until at least Dec. 31. The ESA said the Mars Express spacecraft, launched in 2003, has produced breathtaking, high-resolution images of the planet's surface in 3-D and in color. The spacecraft, carrying the first radar instrument flown to Mars, was also the first spacecraft to detect methane in the planet's atmosphere from orbit. The Mars Express mission has been extended...

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2009-02-10 08:45:00

ESA's Science Program Committee has extended the operations of ESA's Mars Express, Venus Express and Cluster missions until December 31, 2009. The decision to extend the three successful missions was taken on February 4 this year.  Mars Express "” global view of the Red Planet Mars Express, launched in June 2003, has been orbiting the Red Planet since the end of 2003, and has produced a treasure of discoveries. The first European mission to Mars, it has taken...