July 19th, 2007 09:43 EST
European Space Agency's Venus Express
WASHINGTON - NASA's Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry,
and Ranging spacecraft, known as Messenger, and the European Space
Agency's Venus Express recently provided the most detailed
multi-point images of the Venusian atmosphere ever seen.
The images result from a June 5 flyby of Venus by Messenger during its
long journey to Mercury. Venus Express already was in orbit at the
planet. The two spacecraft carry sets of instruments employing
different observation techniques that complement each other.
Messenger made its closest approach to Venus at a distance of
approximately 210 miles on the night side of the planet. At the same
time, Venus Express was behind the horizon, almost above the planet's
South Pole, at approximately 21,750 miles.
Scientists from both missions are continuing analysis of the images
and accompanying data. Data included several instruments studying
Venus' cloud deck and surface, plasma environment, magnetic fields,
and atmosphere. More results from this joint observation campaign are
expected by the end of the year.
Messenger launched on Aug. 3, 2004, and swung by Venus first on Oct
24, 2006, and for the second time in June. Messenger will enter
Mercury's orbit in March 2011. Venus Express, the European Space
Agency's first mission to Venus, launched on Nov. 9, 2005, and
reached the planet on April 11, 2006.
To view new images and video of Venus, visit: