Europe's Venus Express is ready for launch

Nov 08, 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: SpaceX ship leaves ISS for Earth loaded with lab results

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Venus Express gets ready to take the plunge

May 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —After eight years in orbit, ESA's Venus Express has completed routine science observations and is preparing for a daring plunge into the planet's hostile atmosphere.

Venus mountains create wave trains

Jan 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —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 ...

Recommended for you

Hinode satellite captures X-ray footage of solar eclipse

Oct 24, 2014

The moon passed between the Earth and the sun on Thursday, Oct. 23. While avid stargazers in North America looked up to watch the spectacle, the best vantage point was several hundred miles above the North ...

User comments : 0