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Fraser
2005-Aug-03, 04:41 PM
SUMMARY: The European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft has completed its last phase of testing in France, and now it will make the journey to the launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. If all goes well, Venus Express will launch in October 2005 on a Soyuz/Fregat rocket - it will only take 153 days to make the journey to Venus. It was developed in only four years, and has inherited many instruments from Mars Express and the Rosetta spacecraft.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/venus_express_launch_campaign_starts.html)

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

antoniseb
2005-Aug-03, 05:05 PM
here's the ESA site's list of the instruments on this probe.
http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/in...fobjectid=33964 (http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=33964)

It appears that there will be one to study the magnetic field, and several to study the atmosphere, and plasma surrounding the planet. It does NOT have the Mars Express instrument that was recently unfurled to do radar sounding of the crust of the planet, but it is doubtful there is any ice on Venus.

I'm not sure how the VIRTIS instrument will do spectrographic mapping of the surface...

Guest
2005-Aug-03, 06:29 PM
To my understanding it's not going to actually map the surface, but it can provide good tomography of Venus' atmosphere right down to the surface. So while it's not going to sound the actual surface, it will be able to tell us waht's going on in the atmosphere right at the surface. This will give us a map of surface temperatures, and help us spot volcanic hotspots.

Greg
2005-Aug-03, 08:42 PM
Any light that could be shed on what brings about the conditions we see on Venus will be helpful. Such understanding may help us answer the questions about the surface of the planet, which theorists still do not have good constraints on the history of.

Spacemad
2005-Aug-03, 10:08 PM
This is good news - for ESA for Venus & for us all. It so good to see how Europe can plan & execute a whole mission & in just 4 years!!!!

If this mission to Venus has any of the same success as its predecessor to Mars - on which it is closely modelled - then we can look forward to lots of good scientific information that will help fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge of Venus's atmospheric conditions & its "runaway Greenhouse effect".

GOURDHEAD
2005-Aug-04, 02:41 AM
Also it offers a good chance to determine whether the microbes with which we have infected Venus are prospering.

Eric Vaxxine
2005-Aug-04, 09:32 AM
We've infected Venus?

I know Venus was at it's brightest last year. I have not heard any scientific explanation as to why. What do we gain from Venus tho'? Mars we could populate...Venus is an unlikely holiday destination!


(Oh...maybe a flyby Holiday) :unsure:

aeolus
2005-Aug-04, 10:47 AM
Originally posted by Eric Vaxxine@Aug 4 2005, 09:32 AM
We've infected Venus?

I know Venus was at it's brightest last year. I have not heard any scientific explanation as to why. What do we gain from Venus tho'? Mars we could populate...Venus is an unlikely holiday destination!


(Oh...maybe a flyby Holiday) :unsure:
Its possible some extremophile from here on Earth tagged along with Venera, Mariner, etc, and have survuved in the void and hostility of space and then high temps and high acidity of the Venusian atmosphere. Unlikely, I think, though.

Venus is more like Earth than Mars is in some respects. It may seem impossible inhabit Venus at first, but after looking at the facts a while, Mars doesn't look as easy either. "Because we can't go there now" is a horrible reason to not explore a planet. If that's the case, we'd better call up NASA and ESA and cancel every exploration mission right now, save maybe SMART-1.

We gain knowledge and a better understanding of ourselves and the universe we live in, so we can possibly benefit and contribute to said universe, which is why humans research anything. Instead we'd spend all day fining food, eating food, sleeping, and reproducing, like most other life forms on Earth.

lswinford
2005-Aug-04, 08:51 PM
People talked of dumping some algae in Venus' atmosphere to terraform the planet. Wouldn't that be ironic if instead we sent some dozen bugs from some technician's cold instead!

With all that sulfer in the environment, if any such 'bugs' survived and thrived then future human visitors would know that 'sulfa drugs' won't work. :D

infected
2005-Aug-05, 07:52 AM
its about time we start focusing some attention on venus.. that what we are gonna look like in a billion or so years i my opinion.. its certainly one of the most understudied bodies... should be a cool mission.. i hope there are more in the works.. when the hell are they gonna laungh a damn europa probe???? that to me is the most important object of study on the plate ... send something to prove or disprove an ocean of water.. melt through that sucker and find us some life forms i say

aeolus
2005-Aug-05, 01:03 PM
Not quite under-explored. AFAIK, Venus is the 2th most explored world in our solar system, not including Earth and Moon. At least 9 missions have studied Venus so far.

Guest_James
2005-Aug-07, 07:01 AM
As of right now, Venus is being scorched by the sun. What if we put a massive obstacle in orbit around the sun, such as to block out the sunlight from reaching venus? Could this cause the temperature on venus to drop dramatically and make it more astronaut friendly, mine-worthy, or terraformable? Or would it still be a useless piece of real estate? Perhaps this upcoming Euromission will shed some light on this subject matter!

As for right now, as far as I'm concerned, Venus is a useless piece of real estate. No matter, iff Venus really is useless, then it would be really cool to crash it into our own sun, somehow. I'm thinking deep impact type of thing, except with a planet crashing into the sun. Same with Mercury...iff useless, blow it up! Or perhaps Venus into Mercury into the sun, side pocket! I'd pay good money to see that! :o

Spacemad
2005-Aug-07, 08:52 AM
Guest _James's ideas seem very far fetched!!! :rolleyes: Why would we want to crash a planet into the Sun - just for a few hours emotion? We wouldn't gain practically any scientific information from it after all! We already know the composition of the said planet(s) & they are too small to make any "impact" on the Sun! :lol: The time it would take the Sun to consume them? From their respective masses & our knowledge of the Sun we can calculate that in a moment with today's computers! The only thing that we perhaps cannot do is substitute the "pleasure & excitement of the moment for those it might stimulate (& I'm not very sure if we can't do that already!! :P )

On the other hand we can gain a lot of scientific knowledge from studying them & trying to understand their present state & determine how they got to where they are today, especially Venus. The highly extreme greenhouse effect on Venus could help with our understanding of Earth's atmosphere & the greenhouse effect here before we destroy our world. It might be possible to colonise Venus a some very distant moment in the future when terraforming has been done (if such a thing is ever seriously contemplated & the technology is available to do it as well as the astronomically high costs being justified).

lswinford
2005-Aug-08, 07:12 PM
Spacemad, its that ultra-utilitarinism at work. If its no good for us to use, then why do we keep it around? :lol:

Guest_James, I saw a pressure-temperature chart from one of the lander-probes a while back. There's a small mid-altitude zone with similar temperatures and pressures as are found here. Someone might build blimp-like habitats and feel right at home someday (in a couple hundred years), so suppose we keep it around for a while longer?

Guest_James
2005-Aug-08, 09:08 PM
Well, I suppose we could use Venus as a gravitational slingshot to get to the planets in the outer solar system. And an isolated planetary body that's constantly really hot could always be turned into a natural power generator (think water vaporizer/condensor turning turbines like a nuclear power generator) if the power could somehow be transmitted to Earth.

Planet crashing may sound a little far fetched, but I think it may be doable with a little theoretical/scifi thing I like to think of as a "hole puncher". This is my conception where a massive spherical bomb directs all the physical force fields inward towards itself such that there is a gravitational field, electrical field, strong nuclear field, and weak nuclear field all pointing radially towards a point of singularity in the center. This bomb, when activated creates a black hole strong enough to redirect the path of a planet, whereif it is planned properly, it will go where you want it to go, just like playing pool. Then the unstable black hole naturally dissipates itself as planned. I envision the future being filled with physical engineering projects like this taking place in outer space.

Who knows, perhaps we could crash an icy moon into mars in order to bring water to mars and make it more habitable. Or perhaps we'll crash a thick atmosphered and hot planet into a thin atmosphere'd planet in order to bring it more atmosphere.