Spacecraft Tandem Provide New Views of Venus

July 19, 2007
Spacecraft Tandem Provide New Views of Venus
This grey-scale image, obtained by the VIRTIS instrument on board ESA’s Venus Express, shows the atmospheric region of Venus over which NASA’s MESSENGER passed on 5 June 2007. The region of MESSENGER’s closest approach is in the night side (marked by a circle). Credits: ESA/VIRTIS/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESIA

NASA's Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft, known as Messenger, and the European Space Agency's Venus Express recently provided the most detailed multi-point images of the Venusian atmosphere ever seen.

The images result from a June 5 flyby of Venus by Messenger during its long journey to Mercury. Venus Express already was in orbit at the planet. The two spacecraft carry sets of instruments employing different observation techniques that complement each other.

Messenger made its closest approach to Venus at a distance of approximately 210 miles on the night side of the planet. At the same time, Venus Express was behind the horizon, almost above the planet's South Pole, at approximately 21,750 miles.

Scientists from both missions are continuing analysis of the images and accompanying data. Data included several instruments studying Venus' cloud deck and surface, plasma environment, magnetic fields, and atmosphere. More results from this joint observation campaign are expected by the end of the year.

Messenger launched on Aug. 3, 2004, and swung by Venus first on Oct 24, 2006, and for the second time in June. Messenger will enter Mercury's orbit in March 2011. Venus Express, the European Space Agency's first mission to Venus, launched on Nov. 9, 2005, and reached the planet on April 11, 2006.

Source: NASA

Explore further: NASA Spacecraft Ready for Science-Rich Encounter With Venus

Related Stories

NASA Spacecraft Ready for Science-Rich Encounter With Venus

June 4, 2007

NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft will make its closest pass to Venus on Tuesday, June 5. This will place the spacecraft on target for a flyby of Mercury in January ...

Space weather: Explosions on Venus

March 5, 2012

In the grand scheme of the solar system, Venus and Earth are almost the same distance from the sun. Yet the planets differ dramatically: Venus is some 100 times hotter than Earth and its days more than 200 times longer. The ...

Venus

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 ...

European team creates universal 'language' for space science

April 8, 2015

A consortium of European space scientists has succeeded in establishing a common data hub that allows the comparison of data from numerous space missions. A task that until now was hampered by different data processing protocols ...

Recommended for you

Solar eruptions could electrify Martian moons

October 18, 2017

Powerful solar eruptions could electrically charge areas of the Martian moon Phobos to hundreds of volts, presenting a complex electrical environment that could possibly affect sensitive electronics carried by future robotic ...

Potential human habitat located on the moon

October 18, 2017

A study published in Geophysical Research Letters confirms the existence of a large open lava tube in the Marius Hills region of the moon, which could be used to protect astronauts from hazardous conditions on the surface.

0 comments

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.