Venus Express Mission

Science Objectives

Venus Express will investigate:

Why Venus

Missions to Venus have been generally more successful than the missions to Mars: to date, thirteen Soviet and four atmospheric entry craft and landers have probed the deep atmosphere of Venus, and two orbiters have explored its atmosphere and surface, including Pioneer Venus, Venera 15, Venera 16 and Magellan. In addition, two balloons (Vega 1 and Vega 2) have flown in the atmosphere of Venus.

But, perhaps more compelling, Venus is a planet with incredible charisma and a history of contribution to key scientific discoveries, including both the heliocentric nature of the solar system and estimations of the speed of light. Interest in Venus remains relevant today, perhaps more so because of what the planet, so similar to our own, can tell us about the Earth's evolution, atmosphere, and possibly even future.

Further study is necessary to understand the condition of the planet, radar map the surface, and solve the great number of Venus' mysteries. To this end, the Venus Express mission is engaged in a global investigation of Venus' atmosphere, plasma environment, and some important aspects of its geology and surface physics.

Key Questions:

If Venus and Earth formed in the same neighborhood of the Sun, why has Venus evolved so differently from Earth despite their many similarities?

Other Questions:

Venus and Earth have much in common but have significant differences in physical characteristics. These differences that have been determined from previous missions to Venus and Earth based observations lead to the following questions that Venus Express mission scientists want to explore with relevant observations.

Last Update: September 18, 2012