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Latest Venus Express Stories

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2007-11-28 14:52:38

Venus is a hellish place of high temperatures and crushing air pressure. The European Space Agency's Venus Express mission adds into this mix the first confirmation that the Venusian atmosphere generates its own lightning. The discovery is part of the Venus Express science findings that appear in a special section of the Nov. 29 issue of the journal Nature. "In addition to all the pressure and heat, we can confirm there is lightning on Venus -- maybe even more activity than there is here on...

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2007-11-06 08:58:31

Watching the stars set from the surface of the Earth may be a romantic pastime but when a spacecraft does it from orbit, it can reveal hidden details about a planet's atmosphere. The technique is known as stellar occultation. Jean-Loup Bertaux, Service d'Aeronomie du CNRS, France was the first to suggest its use on an ESA mission. It works by watching stars from space, while they drop behind the atmosphere of a planet under investigation, before disappearing from view below the planet's...

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2007-10-10 17:50:00

Planetary scientists on both sides of the Atlantic have tracked down a rare molecule in the atmospheres of both Mars and Venus. The molecule, an exotic form of carbon dioxide, could affect the way the greenhouse mechanism works on Venus. The discovery is being announced today at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Sciences in Orlando, Florida. Its presence could affect the way the greenhouse mechanism works on Venus. The mystery began back in April...

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2007-09-03 18:35:00

Venus Express has now orbited Earth's twin for 500 Earth days, completing as many orbits. While the satellite maintains steady and excellent performance, the planet continues to surprise and amaze us. In spite of experiencing a challenging environment, Venus Express is in an excellent condition. It receives four times the amount of solar radiation as compared to its sister spacecraft, Mars Express, but modifications to the spacecraft design have worked just as intended and operation has been...

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2007-08-23 11:51:04

Observations of solar flares by spacecraft at Mars, Venus and the Earth show that eruptions on the far side of the Sun may affect our "space weather" back on Earth. In December 2006, a series of solar flares produced in a single active region were observed from three different points, each approximately 120 degrees apart. The results of these observations are now presented at the European Planetary Sciences Congress, Potsdam, on Thursday 23rd August by a team of scientists from the Swedish...

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2007-06-05 12:50:00

Picture this: A spaceship swoops in from the void, plunging toward a cloudy planet about the size of Earth. A laser beam lances out from the ship; it probes the planet's clouds, striving to reach the hidden surface below. Meanwhile, back on the craft's home world, scientists perch on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens. Sounds like science fiction? This is real, and it's happening today. The spacecraft is MESSENGER, and the planet is Venus. On June 5, 2007, MESSENGER will fly...

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2007-06-04 17:25:00

On June 6 this year, scientists all around the world will be watching with eager eyes as not one but two spacecraft observe Venus simultaneously. ESA's Venus Express, in orbit around Venus since 11 April 2006, will be joined for a few hours by NASA's MESSENGER (MErcury Surface Space ENvironment GEochemistry and Ranging mission), flying by Venus while on its way to Mercury. Earth-based observatories and telescopes in orbit around Earth will also be watching. Looking at Venus together,...

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2007-05-07 09:25:00

An exciting new series of videos from ESA's Venus Express has been capturing atmospheric details of day and night areas simultaneously, at different altitudes. The south pole of the planet and its gigantic double vortex has been pictured as never before. The south pole of Venus and the double-eyed storm permanently rule atmospheric phenomena in that area of the planet. They are key to understanding the global atmospheric dynamics on Venus and will contribute to a better comprehension of the...

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2007-04-11 11:10:56

Flight Control Teams for Mars Express and Venus Express now work side-by-side for key aspects of their routine activities. The close cooperation supports team spirit, cross-training and improved efficiency. Thanks to a common spacecraft architecture and use of standardised mission control software, spacecraft controllers from the Mars Express and Venus Express Flight Control Teams (FCTs) are now able to work in tandem, each providing support to both missions and boosting team cooperation....

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2007-04-11 07:55:00

One year has passed since April 11, 2006, when Venus Express, Europe's first mission to Venus and the only spacecraft now in orbit around the planet, reached its destination. Since then, this advanced probe, born to explore one of the most mysterious planetary bodies in the Solar System, has been revealing planetary details never caught before. Intensively visited by several Russian and American probes from the 60s to the early 90s, Venus has always represented a puzzling target for...