More than 250 scientists and engineers across Europe are involved in the Venus Express mission, supported by their institutes and national space agencies. The mission also sees the contribution of scientists from Russia and Japan, as well as from NASA, which sponsors 15 American Venus Express scientists and provides support to the radio science investigation via its Deep Space Network antennas.

Venus Express has now completed its nominal mission. This involved watching the planet for two venusian days, which, because Venus rotates so slowly, lasted approximately 500 Earth days. Venus Express will now start its extended mission to watch the planet for two more venusian days.

In this mission scientists are able to investigate from the top of Venus’ atmosphere, down nearly to the surface. They have shown it to be a planet of surprises that may once have been more Earth-like, and still is, to a certain extent. Venus Express detects evidence of lightning on Venus.

It is worthwhile mentioning the amazing 3D images of the south polar vortex, the fine details of clouds some very Earth-like and hazes, precise wind measurements, and the nicest views ever of the phenomena that make Venus glow in space at infrared wavelengths,” says Håkan Svedhem, ESA’s project scientist for Venus Express.

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