THE MORNING STAR ZINE.TRANSLATE
April 14, 2006
"VENUS IN THE SPOTLIGHT"
"The VENUS EXPRESS"
"I think that the decisive question will be to discover the dynamic of the atmosphere," said Horst Uwe Keller,
team leader operating a wide-angle camera aboard the "Venus Express".
Gerry. M. Kaye
"Europe's First Space Probe Enters Venus' Orbit"
4/12/06 - ESA- Reuters - Europe's "Venus Express" slipped smoothly into orbit on Tuesday in a mission designed to send back data from the planet whose extreme atmosphere contains important similarities with the Earth. Its first signal was sent back at just after 0900 GMT, confirming that the orbital entry phase had been successfully completed. "Everything went as it was planned, clearly, without difficulties,...this is a great success,"
said Gale Winters, Space Agency (ESA) dir. of operations, at a news conference...
Venus Express was launched Nov. 9, 2005
atop a Russian booster rocket from
the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
An artist impression shows planet Venus
with the Venus Express space probe.
Horst Uwe Keller, leads the team operating
the craft's wide-angle camera , one of seven
instruments aboard the Venus Express.
Using infrared technology that allows
the camera to peer though the clouds, scientists
hope to be able to determine how the sulfuric acid
that swathes the planet was formed, and pinpoint
the cause of the high speed winds that sends it
swirling in massive clouds.
The images were taken Wednesday, 4/12/06,
one day after Venus Express went into
orbit around the planet.
Venus is seen in an undated photo taken
from the Hubbell Space Telescope. Europe's first space
probe to Venus entered the planet's orbit on Tuesday
and sent its first transmissions from there to Earth,
ground controllers said.
Composite, false-color views of the planet Venus'
south pole is captured by the VIRTIS on board the
Venus Express, April 12, 2006,
revealing a swirling mass of sulfuric acid clouds
powered by 220 mph winds.
The clouds, 13 miles deep, completely enclose Venus.
The new images of the planet's south pole, which is
turned away from Earth, closely resemble those of
its more familiar north pole.
The images, taken from the European Space
Agency's orbiting Venus Express spacecraft
from a distance of roughly 124,000 miles, show
pale clouds turning around a dark vortex.
"The VENUS EXPRESS"
April 14, 2006
April 14, 2006 - ESA Space Agency- Europe's "Venus Express" was launched Nov. 9, 2005, atop a Russian booster rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Venus Express reached the veiled planet Tuesday morning, April 11, 2006, at the end of a 153 day, 400 million kilometer flight into the inner solar system.
The $260 million mission, the first to Venus since NASA sent up the Magellan mission in 1989, aims to study the greenhouse effect on the planet, where the atmosphere is intensely hot and crushingly dense.
It also hopes to learn what caused volcanic activity some 500 million years ago and whether there is any taking place today.
Under current plans, the mission is to last 500 days, with the possibility of extending it for another 500.
ESA controllers in Darmstadt, Germany, switched on each instrument individually to make sure they had survived slowing the vessel so it could be captured by Venus' gravity.
The European spacecraft captured images from thousands of miles away..Using infrared technology that allows the camera to peer though the clouds, scientists hope to be able to determine how the sulfuric acid that swathes the planet was formed, and pinpoint the cause of the high-speed winds that sends it swirling in massive clouds.
"I think that the decisive question will be to discover the dynamic of the atmosphere," Keller said. "Why are the clouds turning in the direction that we see? Why so quickly?"
In the next several weeks, scientists will run more thorough tests on the spacecraft's instruments, designed to help researchers better understand the atmosphere and climate of Earth's neighbor. By June, they expect to have all instruments fully functioning.
As the spacecraft tightens its orbit in coming months, scientists expect it to capture more detailed and revealing images of Venus from a distance of only about 155 miles.
By June, they expect to have all instruments fully functioning.
Photos: European Space Agency ESA
4/12/06 "Space Daily" online
4/14/06 Associated Press, Writer-Melissa Eddy
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