Latest Venus Express Stories

2008-03-13 08:52:09

Venus Express has constantly been observing the south pole of Venus and has found it to be surprisingly fickle. An enormous structure with a central part that looks like the eye of a hurricane, morphs and changes shape within a matter of days, leaving scientists puzzled. The eye of the hurricane is at the centre of a 2000 km-wide vortex. It was discovered in 1974 by the Mariner 10 spacecraft. There is a similar structure on the planet's north pole, which was observed by the Pioneer Venus...

2008-03-05 09:05:00

Using two ESA spacecraft, planetary scientists are watching the atmospheres of Mars and Venus being stripped away into space. The simultaneous observations by Mars Express and Venus Express give scientists the data they need to investigate the evolution of the two planets' atmospheres. Scientists call this work comparative planetology. Mars Express and Venus Express are so good at it because they carry very similar science instruments. In the case of the Analyser of Space Plasmas and...

2008-02-21 09:05:00

Venus Express has revealed a planet of extraordinarily changeable and extremely large-scale weather. Bright hazes appear in a matter of days, reaching from the south pole to the low southern latitudes and disappearing just as quickly. Such "Ëœglobal weather', unlike anything on Earth, has given scientists a new mystery to solve. The cloud-covered world of Venus is all but a featureless, unchangeable globe at visible wavelengths of light. Switch to the ultraviolet and it reveals a...

2007-11-28 17:05:00

ESA's Venus Express has revealed Venus as never before. For the first time, scientists are able to investigate from the top of its atmosphere, down nearly to the surface. They have shown it to be a planet of surprises that may once have been more Earth-like, and still is, to a certain extent. The latest results from the mission were presented today at a press conference held at ESA headquarters in Paris, and will appear in the 29 November issue of the scientific journal Nature. Permanently...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Word of the Day
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'