Latest Venus Express Stories

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...

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...

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...

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...

2006-04-11 07:50:00

By Bernhard Winkler DARMSTADT, Germany (Reuters) - Europe's first space probe to Venus slipped smoothly into the planet's orbit on Tuesday and sent its first signals from there to Earth, ground controllers said. The 1.3 ton Venus Express took off on a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan last November, traveling 250 million miles through space to a mission scheduled to last 486 days. "Everything went as it was planned, clearly, without difficulties," Gaele Winters, European Space Agency...

2006-04-11 06:30:00

This morning, at the end of a 153-day and 400-million km cruise into the inner Solar System beginning with its launch on November 9, 2005, ESA's Venus Express space probe fired its main engine at 09:17 CEST for a 50-minute burn, which brought it into orbit around Venus. With this firing, the probe reduced its relative velocity toward the planet from 29,000 to about 25,000 km/h and was captured by its gravity field. This orbit insertion manoeuvre was a complete success. During the next four...

2006-04-11 05:30:00

DARMSTADT, Germany -- Europe's first space probe to Venus entered the planet's orbit on Tuesday and sent its first transmissions from there to Earth, ground controllers said. Officials at the European Space Agency's Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, said the Venus Express probe had completed a braking operation shortly after 0800 GMT to gain position to be dragged into the planet's orbit. After a brief so-called occultation period when the craft passed behind the planet and out...

2006-04-10 13:00:00

It was on November 9th last year that ESA's Venus Express spacecraft lifted off from the desert of Kazakhstan onboard a Soyuz-Fregat rocket. Now, after having travelled 400 million kilometres in only about five months, the spacecraft is about to reach its final destination. The rendezvous is due to take place on April 11th. First step: catching Venus To begin to explore our Earth s hot and hazy sister planet, Venus Express must complete a critical first step, the most challenging one...

2006-04-03 17:10:00

If a large asteroid such as the recently identified 2004 VD17 -- about 500 miles in diameter with a mass of nearly 1000 million tons -- collides with the Earth it could spell disaster for much of our planet. As part of ESA's Near-Earth Object deflecting mission Don Quijote, three teams of European industries are now carrying out studies on how to prevent this. ESA has been addressing the problem of how to prevent large Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) from colliding with the Earth for some...

2006-03-27 16:38:48

Europe -- Venus Express mission controllers at ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC) are in intensive preparation for an 11 April arrival at the spacecraft's namesake destination. The critical manoeuvre will involve a deft combination of basic physics, expert spacecraft engineering and precise timing. Next month's Venus Orbit Insertion (VOI) will mark the arrival of the first ESA mission at Venus, one of the Solar System's most enigmatic planets. Orbit insertion comprises a series of...

Word of the Day
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.