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News Archive

The list below contains all Venus Express news articles that have been published on this website (sci.esa.int). These stories are intended for a scientifically-inclined audience.

Note that additional articles, aimed at the general public, may be found at venus.esa.int

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Venus Express: up above the clouds so high
ESA's Venus Express spacecraft has climbed to a new orbit following its daring aerobraking experiment, and will now resume observations of this fascinating planet for at least a few more months.
Date: 28 July 2014
Venus Express rises again
After a month surfing in and out of the atmosphere of Venus down to just 130 km from the planet's surface, ESA's Venus Express is about to embark on a 15 day climb up to the lofty heights of 460 km.
Date: 11 July 2014
Venus mountains create wave trains
The planet Venus is blanketed by high-level clouds. At visible wavelengths, individual cloud features are difficult to see, but observations made by instruments on ESA's Venus Express orbiter have revealed many small-scale wave trains. Analysis shows that the waves are mostly found at high northern latitudes, particularly above Ishtar Terra, a continent-sized region that includes the highest mountains on the planet.
Date: 13 January 2014
ESA science missions continue in overtime
ESA has extended the productive lives of 10 of its operating space science missions. This decision secures funding for ESA's world-class science missions until at least the end of 2014, and provides a framework for planning until end of 2016.
Date: 20 June 2013
Super-hurricane-force winds on Venus are getting stronger
As the closest planet to Earth, Venus is a relatively easy object to observe. However, many mysteries remain, not least the super-rotation of Venus' atmosphere, which enables high altitude winds to circle the planet in only four days. Now images of cloud features sent back by ESA's Venus Express orbiter have revealed that these remarkably rapid winds are becoming even faster.
Date: 18 June 2013
The tail of Venus and the weak solar wind
Measurements obtained with ESA's Venus Express spacecraft have shed new light on the interaction between the solar wind and the second planet from the Sun. During a rare period of very low density solar outflow, the ionosphere of Venus was observed to become elongated downstream, rather like a long-tailed comet.
Date: 29 January 2013
A new episode of active volcanism on Venus?
For decades, planetary scientists have debated whether Venus possesses active volcanoes. The latest twist to the tale is provided by data sent back from ESA's Venus Express orbiter, revealing unexplained major changes in the amount of sulphur dioxide gas above the planet's dense cloud layer.
Date: 02 December 2012
A curious cold layer in the atmosphere of Venus
Venus Express has spied a surprisingly cold region high in the planet's atmosphere that may be frigid enough for carbon dioxide to freeze out as ice or snow.
Date: 01 October 2012
Get ready for the transit of Venus!
Scientists and amateur astronomers around the world are preparing to observe the rare occurrence of Venus crossing the face of the Sun on 5-6 June, an event that will not be seen again for over a hundred years.
Date: 24 May 2012
Venus Express unearths new clues to the planet's geological history
ESA's Venus Express has been used to study the geology in a region near Venus' equator. Using near-infrared observations collected by the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC), scientists have found evidence that the planet's rugged highlands are scattered with geochemically more evolved rocks, rather than the basaltic rocks of the volcanic plains. This finding is in agreement with previous studies, which used data from the spacecraft's Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) to map the planet's surface in the southern hemisphere.
Date: 16 May 2012
A magnetic surprise for Venus Express
Venus is a rarity among planets - a world that does not internally generate a magnetic field. Despite the absence of a large protective magnetosphere, the near-Venus environment does exhibit a number of similarities with planets such as Earth. The latest, surprising, example is the evidence for magnetic reconnection in Venus' induced magnetotail.
Date: 05 April 2012
Could Venus be shifting gear?
ESA's Venus Express spacecraft has discovered that our cloud-covered neighbour spins a little slower than previously measured. Peering through the dense atmosphere in the infrared, the orbiter found surface features were not quite where they should be.
Date: 10 February 2012
Tenuous ozone layer discovered in Venus' atmosphere
Using observations of Venus performed with an instrument on ESA's Venus Express scientists have detected, for the first time, a tenuous layer of ozone in this planet's atmosphere. Located at an altitude of about 100 km, the layer is up to a thousand times less dense than the one found, at a lower altitude, in the Earth's stratosphere, but both are dominated by very similar chemical reactions. The discovery poses new challenges to the characterisation of planetary atmospheres, especially in the quest for biomarkers on extrasolar planets.
Date: 06 October 2011
The shape-shifting southern vortex of Venus
New analysis of images taken by ESA's Venus Express orbiter has revealed surprising details about the remarkable, shape-shifting collar of clouds that swirls around the planet's South Pole. This fast-moving feature is all the more surprising since its centre of rotation is typically offset from the geographical pole. The results of this study are published online in Science Express today.
Date: 07 April 2011
ESA spacecraft model magnetic boundaries
European scientists have used observations from ESA's Cluster and Venus Express spacecraft to improve models of the interaction of Earth and Venus with the solar wind, the perpetual stream of electrically charged particles emitted by the Sun. This has implications for understanding the effects of charged particles on orbiting spacecraft.
Date: 07 January 2011
Venus holds warning for Earth
A mysterious high-altitude layer of sulphur dioxide discovered by ESA's Venus Express has been explained. As well as telling us more about Venus, it could be sending a warning to those on Earth seeking to inject our atmosphere with sulphur droplets in an attempt to mitigate climate change.
Date: 30 November 2010
Europe maintains its presence on the final frontier
ESA has decided to extend the productive lives of 11 of its operating space science missions. This will enable ESA's world-class science missions to continue returning pioneering results until at least 2014.
Date: 22 November 2010
Venus Express probes the planet's atmosphere by flying through it
ESA's Venus Express is exploring the density of the Venusian upper atmosphere by measuring how much the planet's atmosphere itself slows down or twists the pointing of the spacecraft. New density measurements, centred on the Northern Pole and obtained during these atmospheric drag experiments, show an unexpected inhomogeneous pattern in the atmosphere of our neighbouring planet. These latest results from the Venus Express Atmospheric Drag Experiment are being presented, this week, at the 42nd annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society held in Pasadena, California.
Date: 07 October 2010
Recreating Venus in the lab
Scientists are able to learn about the atmospheres and surfaces of planets by studying their spectra - the different wavelengths of light which they reflect or absorb. However, when researchers study spectra of Venus, the hottest planet in the Solar System, they run into a problem. Its high temperatures and pressures seriously affect the data.
Date: 30 July 2010
Venus Express shows off new findings at major conference
Thanks to data from Venus Express we have the best idea yet of how Venus' atmosphere works, but there is still a long way to go, delegates at this year's International Venus Conference will be told. At the event, taking place this week (20-26 June) in Aussois, France, scientists are outlining how a better understanding of our nearest planetary neighbour can help us probe our own planet, as well as other bodies in our Solar System, and beyond.
Date: 22 June 2010
 
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Last Update: 06 June 2010

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