ESA title
Science & Exploration

Venus Express objectives

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Space Science / Venus Express

Thanks to a set of state-of-the-art instruments for planetary investigations, Venus Express has dug into the secrets of the Venusian atmosphere.

It studied its complex dynamics and chemistry, and the interactions between the atmosphere and the surface, which has given clues about surface’s characteristics.

It also studied the interactions between the atmosphere and the interplanetary environment (solar wind) to better understand the evolution of the planet.

In the most comprehensive study of the Venusian atmosphere ever, Venus Express had many open questions to tackle:


  • How do the complex global dynamics of the planet work?
    - What causes the super-fast atmospheric rotation and the hurricane-force winds?
    - What maintains the double atmospheric vortex at the poles?
  • How does the cloud system work?
    - How do clouds and haze form and evolve at different altitudes?
    - What is at the origin of mysterious ultraviolet marks at the clouds tops?
  • What processes govern the chemical state of the atmosphere?
  • What role does the ‘green-house effect’ play in the global evolution of the Venusian climate?
  • What governs the escape processes of the atmosphere?
  • Are there water, carbon dioxide or sulphuric acid cycles on Venus?
  • What caused the global volcanic resurfacing of Venus 500 million years ago?
  • Why are some areas on the surface so reflective to radar?
  • Is there present volcanic or seismic activity on the planet?


A number of highlights addressing many of these objectives are summarised at the below links:

Shape-shifting polar vortices
Recent volcanism?
Spinning Venus is slowing down
Super-rotation is speeding up
Snow on Venus?
Ozone layer
Water loss
A magnetic surprise

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