News Archives

2007

NASA scientists detect lightning on Venus with Venus Express [ Nov. 2007 ]

Venus is a hellish place of high temperatures and crushing air pressure. The European Space Agency's Venus Express mission adds into this mix the first confirmation that the Venusian atmosphere generates its own lightning... [more]

A new molecule discovered on Venus ! [ Oct. 2007 ]

Planetary scientists on both sides of the Atlantic have tracked down a rare molecule in the atmospheres of both Mars and Venus. The molecule, an exotic form of carbon dioxide, could affect the way the greenhouse mechanism works on Venus... [more]

Venus and Venus Express to greet a visitor - MESSENGER Venus Fly-by [ June 2007 ]

MESSENGER Venus Fly-by

On 5 June 2007,NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft will fly-past Venus for the second time! MESSENGER will then travel to the inner solar system to fly past Mercury then go into orbit around the tiny planet in 2008. MESSENGER first flew past Venus in October 2006, however because the planet was not well situated in the sky (directly in front of the Sun as seen from Earth), no data was collected by the spacecraft, as no communication was possible from Earth. In June 2007, an extensive set of observations of Venus were conducted from both spacecraft.

MESSENGER Venus Fly-by MESSENGER will come within ~350km of Venus, approaching at about 13.4 km/sec with respect to the planet. It will be the first time MESSENGER conducts extensive observations from its suite of seven instruments since its launch and for the first time, a LIDAR will be activitated at Venus. Venus Express will also carry out simultaneous observations from two different vantage points. The Mercury Laser Altimeter on MESSENGER will fire coherent light pulses at the planet while both spacecraft (MESSENGER and Venus Express) will attempt to detect the reflected light from the clouds!

In April 2007, extensive observations from VIRTIS and VMC were carried out. Using one of NASA's 70-meter Deep Space Network Dishes, about 70 Gb of data was transmitted to Earth by Venus Express. These "movie observations" reveal for the first time, the intricate and dynamic structure within the central region of the southern hemisphere's polar vortex.

MESSENGER is NASA's 6th Discovery mission, led by Dr. Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution. For more information about MESSENGER, please visit the MESSENGER home page at Johns Hopkins University.

Last Update: September 28, 2010