Venus Express

ESA’s Venus Express Sheds More Light on Water Question

The European Space Agency (ESA) Venus Express is shedding more light on the question of the disappearance. For years now, scientists have theorized that Venus once had much more water, maybe even enough to have harbored the development of life. The latest results from the Venus Express have demonstrated that there is almost precisely twice as much hydrogen escaping the atmosphere of Venus as oxygen. This ratio is precisely what you would expect if the original source of both was water.
Learn more about the questions surrounding the water of Venus online now here.

Stay of Execution for ESA Missions

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced today that it will continue the operations of three major missions that were due to be terminated. The Mars Express, Venus Express and Cluster spacecraft will continue operations through the end of 2009. The Cluster spacecraft was launched in 2000, the Mars Express in 2003 and the Venus Express in 2005. The continued Mars Express mission will included “the study of its subsurface, the observation of the upper atmospheric layers under varying solar conditions, observation of methane in the atmosphere, and high resolution mapping of its surface.” The continuation of the Venus Express mission will allow for “an improved understanding of how Venus’ climate works, and scientists will continue the search for suspected active volcanism on the surface.” The continuation of the Cluster mission will allow for the “study the auroral regions above Earth’s poles and widen the investigations of the magnetosphere — its inner region in particular.” You can read more about the reprieves for these missions online at

Where Did All the Water Go, Long Time Passing on Venus

In a press release today, ESA, the European Space Agency, announced the findings of a study done with the Venus Express spacecraft. The press release is online at It has long been suspected that Venus once had an abundance of water similar to its abundance on Earth. But what happened to all that water? There have been theories about the disappearance of the water, and now Venus Express along with its magnetometer appears to have demonstrated that one of these theories is most likely. Apparently, waves within the Solar Wind can develop whose frequency allows for the sweeping up of charged particles from the exosphere (highest portion of planet’s atmosphere), much like a magnetic broom, including those protons, which are the nucleus of hydrogen atoms. For more information about this process see the team’s scientific results published earlier this year in Geophysical Research Letters, available online at

ESA Images Venus in UltraViolet and InfraRed

While Venus recently made headlines with its appearance near Jupiter and the crescent Moon, it is now making headlines with images from the European Space Agency (ESA) Venus Express spacecraft. In the visible portion of the spectrum, that is, just looking through a typical optical telescope, Venus does not betray any structure at all. The only thing discernible in a telescope about Venus is the bright light reflected by the cloud tops in the atmosphere. Utilizing ultraviolet light, invisible to creatures like you and I but discernible to creatures like bees, scientists can make out definite structures in the atmosphere of Venus, as well as how these structures (especially clouds) change in time. InfraRed (IR) radiation tells scientists about the temperature of the clouds in the atmosphere. Learn more about the latest imaging of Venus in UV and IR from ESA at

April 2014
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