Using observations from ESA’s Venus Express satellite, scientists have shown for the first time how weather patterns seen in Venus’ thick cloud layers are directly linked to the topography of the surface below. Rather than acting as a barrier to our observations, Venus’ clouds may offer insight into what lies beneath.
Some of the final results sent back by ESA’s Venus Express before it plummeted down through the planet’s atmosphere have revealed it to be rippling with atmospheric waves and, at an average temperature of -157 °C, colder than anywhere on Earth. The aerobraking experiment has improved our knowledge of our planetary neighbour and holds great promise for ESA’s forthcoming ExoMars mission.
The European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft has found the best evidence yet for active volcanism on Earth’s neighbour planet. Seeing the planet’s surface is extremely difficult due to its thick atmosphere, but radar observations by previous missions to Venus have revealed it as a world covered in volcanoes and ancient lava flows.