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: Galaxy clusters collide—dark matter still a mystery

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Unexplained warm layer discovered in Venus' atmosphere

Mar 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 ...

Learn about Venus, the hothouse planet near Earth

Feb 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 ...

Recommended for you

Is the universe finite or infinite?

2 hours ago

Two possiblities exist: either the Universe is finite and has a size, or it's infinite and goes on forever. Both possibilities have mind-bending implications.

'Teapot' nova begins to wane

4 hours ago

A star, or nova, has appeared in the constellation of Sagittarius and, even though it is now waning, it is still bright enough to be visible in the sky over Perth through binoculars or a telescope.

Scuttling satellites to save space

5 hours ago

It takes a lot of ingenuity – not to mention a massive quantity of sheer force – to get satellites into orbit. Now space engineers are applying comparable ingenuity to the challenge of getting their missions ...

A new look at the sun's magnetic field

5 hours ago

Sunspots, bursts of radiation and violent eruptions are signs that our sun is permanently active. Researchers have long known that this activity varies in a cycle of around eleven years' duration. Even if ...

User comments : 0

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.