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Latest Venus Express Stories

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2007-04-03 10:30:07

New images and data from ESA's mission to Venus provide new insights into the turbulent and noxious atmosphere of Earth's sister planet. What causes violent winds and turbulences? Is the surface topography playing a role in the complex global dynamics of the atmosphere? Venus Express is on the case. Venus' atmosphere represents a true puzzle for scientists. Winds are so powerful and fast that they circumnavigate the planet in only four Earth days "“ the atmospheric...

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2007-02-27 09:40:57

ESA's Mars Express and Venus Express missions, to explore our nearest neighbour planets Mars and Venus respectively, will continue to operate until early-May 2009. The decision was unanimously taken by ESA's Science Programme Committee last Friday. The Science Programme Committee recognised the outstanding legacy that Mars Express and Venus Express are building for future generations of scientists, and noted the invaluable heritage that these missions are leaving to future missions to these...

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2007-02-27 08:50:20

BepiColombo, ESA's mission to explore planet Mercury, has been definitively 'adopted' by the Agency's Science Programme Committee (SPC) last Friday. The mission will now start its industrial implementation phase, to prepare for launch in August 2013. BepiColombo is the next European planetary exploration project, and will be implemented in collaboration with Japan. A satellite 'duo' "“ consisting of an orbiter for planetary investigation and one for magnetospheric studies "“ will...

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2007-02-15 15:10:00

ESA mission controllers have confirmed Rosetta is on track for a critical 250-km (150 miles) Mars swingby on 25 February. Engineers have started final preparations for the delicate operation, which includes an eclipse, a signal blackout, precise navigation and complex ground tracking. Rosetta is scheduled to make its closest approach to Mars at 02:57 CET on Sunday, 25 February, using the Red Planet as a gravitational brake to reduce speed and alter trajectory as part of the spacecraft's...

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2007-01-31 14:02:47

A unique way to travel to the Moon, new technologies successfully tested and brand-new science: a few months after the end of the SMART-1 mission scientists and engineers gathered to recap on these and all the other achievements of the first European mission to the Moon. The innovative SMART-1 Moon mission has taught ESA, European space industry and institutes a lot about how to perform its missions even more efficiently. For example, the operational tools developed and the lessons learned...

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2006-11-09 13:30:00

One year after its launch on November 9, 2005 and a few months into its science phase, ESA's Venus Express keeps working well and continues to gather lots of data about the hot and noxious atmosphere of the planet. Newly released images show additional details of the thick cloud deck that surrounds Venus. It was 11 April 2006 when, after a delicate manoeuvre, Venus Express entered into orbit around Venus, and started a series of gradually smaller loops around the planet to reach its...

2006-10-13 12:55:00

In its relentless probing of Venus's atmosphere, ESA's Venus Express keeps revealing new details of the Venusian cloud system. Meteorology at Venus is a complex matter, scientists say. New night-side infrared images gathered by the Ultraviolet, Visible and Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIRTIS) in July 2006, clearly show new details of a complex cloud system. The first (false colour) view - the composite of three infrared images acquired by VIRTIS, was taken on 22 July when the...

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2006-07-12 08:59:43

On April 20, 2006, after its first 9-day, elongated orbit around Venus, ESA's Venus Express started to get closer to the planet, until it reached its final 24-hour long orbit on May 7th. During this time, and up to today, the spacecraft has been working relentlessly: the new data coming in are already providing first glimpses on planetary features never seen before. If taking the first ever clear images of the double-eye vortex at Venus' south pole - imaged by Venus Express during its very...

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2006-06-28 07:55:12

ESA's Venus Express data undoubtedly confirm for the first time the presence of a huge 'double-eye' atmospheric vortex at the planet's south pole. This striking result comes from analysis of the data gathered by the spacecraft during the first orbit around the planet. On 11 April this year, Venus Express was captured into a first elongated orbit around Venus, which lasted 9 days, and ranged between 350 000 and 400 kilometres from Venus' surface. This orbit represented for the Venus Express...

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2006-04-13 11:40:00

ESA's Venus Express has returned the first-ever images of the Venusian south pole, from a distance of 206 452 kilometres, showing surprisingly clear structures and unexpected detail. The images were taken 12 April during the spacecraft's initial capture orbit after successful arrival on 11 April 2006. Engineers have lost no time in switching on several of the instruments and yesterday the VMC (Venus Monitoring Camera) and VIRTIS (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) imaged, for...