STORM - Solar system plasma Turbulence:  Observations, inteRmittency and Multifractals

Venus Express

VEX - an artist view

The European mission to Venus

Venus Express is the twin sister of the Mars Express satellite and is the European mission to Venus, the second planet from the Sun that lies, on average, 108 million km from the Sun, about 30% closer than the Earth. Venus is often referred to as our sister planet because of similarities in size, mass, density and volume. It is believed that both planets share a common origin forming at the same time out of a condensing nebulosity around 4.5 billion years ago.

Venus Express is equipped with scientific instruments meant to measure the composition of Venus plasma and neutral atmosphere, and the electromagnetic environment. VEX provides data that helps to answer key questions related to the geological past and present of Venus, and to planet's response to solar variability.Venus Express (VEX) has been launched by the European Space Agency in November 2005, and it started to collect data from the Venus plasma environment in May 2006 (Svedhem et al., 2007). The mission is still operational and sends good quality data providing valuable information about the interaction of the solar wind with the plasma environment of Venus, a planet that lacks an intrinsic magnetic field. Venus owns, however, an induced magnetosphere, similar to comet tails. VEX studies also the complex dynamics and chemistry of the Venus atmosphere, and the interactions between the atmosphere and the surface, which will give clues about surface's characteristics. The Venus Express spacecraft is equipped with scientific instruments capable to reveal the plasma composition and its microscopic structure (though at a coarser resolution than Cluster), the three components of the magnetic field (at a resolution comparable to Cluster); Venus Express also performs neutral atmospheric spectrometry and sounding. In our project plasma and magnetic field data from Venus Express will provide an additional point of observation of solar wind turbulence at 0.723 AU (approx. 108 million kilometer) from the Sun. The European Space Agency maintains and updates the Venus Express plasma and magnetic field, available on-line from ESA's Planetary Science Archive (