Europe's Venus Express is ready for launch

November 8, 2005

The European Space Agency is set to launch its Venus Express spacecraft in the first mission to the nearest planet to the Earth's in a decade.

The robotic craft is scheduled to lift off on a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:33 p.m. EST Wednesday. It will take Venus Express about five months to reach the planet and enter polar orbit.

The Paris-based ESA says Venus Express is to orbit the planet for about 500 Earth days to study Venus's atmosphere, which has experienced runaway greenhouse warming, the BBC reported, noting scientists hope the information gathered will shed more light on the mechanisms of climate change on our own world.

Venus is often called Earth's evil twin since it's nearly identical in size to Earth, and is believed to have a similar composition. But a dense and largely carbon dioxide, atmosphere envelops Venus, trapping incoming solar radiation to heat the planet's surface to an average temperature of 872 degrees Fahrenheit.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Venus

Related Stories


July 27, 2015

As the morning star, the evening star, and the brightest natural object in the sky (after the Moon), human beings have been aware of Venus since time immemorial. Even though it would be many thousands of years before it was ...

What causes lightning?

July 10, 2015

Thunder and lightning. When it comes to the forces of nature, few other things have inspired as much fear, reverence, or fascination – not to mention legends, mythos, and religious representations. As with all things in ...

Unexplained warm layer discovered in Venus' atmosphere

March 25, 2015

A group of Russian, European and American scientists have found a warm layer in Venus' atmosphere, the nature of which is still unknown. The researchers made the discovery when compiling a temperature map of the upper atmosphere ...

Learn about Venus, the hothouse planet near Earth

February 23, 2015

Venus was once considered a twin to Earth, as it's roughly the same size and is relatively close to our planet. But once astronomers looked at it seriously in the past half-century or so, a lot of contrasts emerged. The biggest ...

How Venus Express outperformed expectations for eight years

February 3, 2015

It was a hell of a ride to our hellish sister planet. Eight long years of studying Venus is way more than ESA scientists were expected from its mission. Venus Express spacecraft that launched on Nov. 9, 2005 and entered the ...

Recommended for you

Chimpanzees shed light on origins of human walking

October 6, 2015

A research team led by Stony Brook University investigating human and chimpanzee locomotion have uncovered unexpected similarities in the way the two species use their upper body during two-legged walking. The results, reported ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.