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Venus Express

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The Venus Express space probe reuse parts of the design from the Mars Express and Rosetta spacecrafts and is the first Mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) to Earth's "sister planet" because booth are very similar in size and bulk composition.

Venus Express launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in October 2005 with a Soyuz-Fregat rocket. After a 153 day cruise to Venus the spacecraft entered the Venusian orbit in April 2006.

After the arrival, the space probe was capturing by Venusian gravity and took 5 days to manoeuvre into its operation orbit, looping around the poles of the planet. At its closest, it reach an altitude of 250 kilometres and at its furthest, it is 66,000 kilometres away from the planet.

The Mission was born in March 2001 and today the Planet Venus is still a mystery world. Because scientists are unable to explain some of the more extreme atmospheric phenomena that take place on Venus. For example, the planet only rotates once every 243 Earth days. However, in the upper atmosphere, hurricane-force winds sweep around Venus, taking just 4 Earth days to circumnavigate the planet.

The surface of Venus also baffles scientists. The oldest craters seem to be only 500 million years old, which may indicate that the planet behaves like a volcanic pressure cooker.

Mission Objectives

Venus Express's science objectives are to study the atmosphere, the plasma environment, and the surface of Venus in great detail.

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