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Fraser
2006-Apr-01, 04:46 AM
SUMMARY: After 5 months of travel, ESA's Venus Express has almost reached its goal - our evil twin planet, Venus. The spacecraft will make its orbital insertion maneuver on April 11, firing its main engine for 50 minutes in order to be captured by Venus' gravity. Over the next few days, the spacecraft will make additional firings to lower its orbit even more. By May it will be in its final 24-hour orbit.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/400-km_venus_ex.html)
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astro-orange
2006-Apr-01, 12:28 PM
I´m looking forward to learning about Venus again, after a number of years!
I wonder whether the idea of life in the UV-dark stripes has something to it?

TuTone
2006-Apr-01, 07:10 PM
Its been 5 months already?! That was a fast trip.

GBendt
2006-Apr-02, 06:05 PM
Hi,

Venus Express is a capable spacecraft, equipped with a set of seven instruments to learn more about the structure and composition of the venusian atmosphere. Let us hope that everything works fine, so that we can get the data from Venus Express we are looking forward to. I can imagine we might see some amazing results.

We should have had a spacecraft like Venus Express 15 years earlier, but the last spacecraft to Venus, Magellan, had only one instrument, a radar device, and thus it had no means to explore the atmosphere of Venus. It provided data to create impressive pictures of the surface of Venus. However, the atmosphere of Venus plays a much bigger role on that planet than does the atmosphere of Mars on Mars.

I am curious whether Venus Express will find traces of venusian magnetism, and whether the composition of the atmosphere will change with time, and of what it is made. Various traces of unknown gases were discovered by the russian Venera spacecrafts in the 1970ties in the venusian atmosphere, which have effects on the radiation coming from Venus. Unfortunately, these spacecrafts broke down after a few months of operation.
Maybe Venus Express helps us to find out what these gases are.

Regards,

Günther