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Study atmosphere, plasma environment and surface of Venus

The Venus Express payload comprised a combination of spectrometers, spectro-imagers and imagers covering a wavelength range from ultraviolet to thermal infrared, a plasma analyser and a magnetometer. This set of instruments was able to study the atmosphere, plasma environment and surface of Venus in great detail.

The investigation aimed to enhance our knowledge of the composition, circulation and evolution of the atmosphere of Venus. The surface properties of Venus and the interaction between the atmosphere and the surface as well as evidence of volcanic activity were investigated.

Measurement instruments on Venus Express

Most of the instruments were re-using designs and/or spare hardware originating from either Mars Express or Rosetta and have been fitted onto a spacecraft whose design is derived from Mars Express and adapted to cope with the thermal and radiation environment in Venus orbit.

The instruments were provided by collaborative efforts between scientific institutes in ESA member states and Russia. Principal investigators in different European countries lead the nationally funded collaborations.

  • ASPERA (Analyser of Space Plasma and Energetic Atoms)
  • MAG (Venus Express Magnetometer)
  • PFS (Planetary Fourier Spectrometer)
  • SPICAV/SOIR (Ultraviolet and Infrared Atmospheric Spectrometer)
  • VeRa (Venus Radio Science Experiment)
  • VIRTIS (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer)
  • VMC (Venus Monitoring Camera)
A cutaway diagram showing size and locations of Venus Express instruments: MAG, VIRTIS, PFS, SPICAM/SOIR, VMC, VeRa and ASPERA. Credits ESA.
Venus Express instruments. Credits CNES.