Venus Express Blasts Out One Last Message From Beyond The Grave

The Venus Express spacecraft was declared scientifically dead in December when, finally out of propellent, it decayed into an uncontrolled spin. After a few accidental communications when pure luck pointed its antenna at Earth, it let out one last bleat of full-volume noise. » 1/23/15 2:00pm 1/23/15 2:00pm

A Dramatic Swirling Vortex At Venus's South Pole

There's a mass of swirling gas and cloud located some 37 miles (60 km) above Venus's south pole. This image was captured by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) aboard ESA's Venus Express spacecraft. » 1/21/15 7:00pm 1/21/15 7:00pm

Venus Express Is Dead, Leaving The Planet Without Robot Explorers

Goodbye, Venus Express. You were a lovely satellite, and lasted far longer than we had any right to expect. With propellant totally exhausted and on a decaying orbit, the spacecraft is presumed dead, burnt, crushed, and mangled by the hostile environment of Venus. » 12/21/14 10:30am 12/21/14 10:30am

Why Is Venus So Horrible?

Seriously, Venus is the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you dead in moments. But how did it get that way? » 12/19/14 4:30pm 12/19/14 4:30pm

How NASA Could Build A Cloud City Over Venus

Owing to the extreme conditions on the Venusian surface, it's going to be quite some time before a human ever steps foot on that planet. That's why NASA is developing a plan to deploy human-occupied airships in Venus's upper atmosphere. And yes, permanent occupation is the ultimate goal. » 12/17/14 12:40pm 12/17/14 12:40pm

Astrobiologists can now add a new term to their lexicon: The Venus Zone. It describes the area around a star in which a planet is likely to exhibit the inhospitable hell-like conditions found on the planet Venus. The concept will help astronomers determine which exoplanets are more analogous to Earth, and thus… » 9/11/14 4:40pm 9/11/14 4:40pm

Venus Express Isn't Dead Yet

The Venus Express spacecraft has completed its 3,000 th orbit of the tempestuous planet, dived into the atmosphere, is on its way back out, and is somehow still transmitting. Not bad for a probe designed to last a measly 500 orbits! » 7/18/14 8:00am 7/18/14 8:00am

How Will We Decide Which Planets To Terraform?

Transforming another planet, moon, or other celestial body into a world fit for human habitation may be a key component of our post-Earth survival. But how will we determine which worlds should be terraformed and which should be left alone? » 6/16/14 11:02am 6/16/14 11:02am

Venus Has Space Weather Explosions That Are Larger Than the Planet

A common space weather phenomenon on the outskirts of the magnetosphere, the magnetic bubble that surrounds the earth (and protects the surface of the planet from solar radiation) are "hot flow anomalies." These are, in effect, enormous explosions. NASA researchers recently discovered that the same phenomenon occurs… » 6/08/14 10:40am 6/08/14 10:40am

A "rainbow" made of sulphuric acid appears in the atmosphere of Venus

Check out this amazingly beautiful optical effect — this rainbow-like feature, called a "glory," was recently captured by Europe's Venus Express orbiter. This is the first time the phenomenon, which also happens on Earth, has been imaged on another planet. » 3/11/14 3:04pm 3/11/14 3:04pm

Venus tried to eclipse the sun. It's not its fault it didn't work.

Last year saw the most recent transit of Venus, as our planetary sibling passed directly between the Sun and our planet. It's an exceedingly rare event—the next one isn't due until 2117, and that's actually a bit ahead of the normal schedule. But what exactly is the Transit of Venus? In a sense, it's just a really » 8/25/13 2:00pm 8/25/13 2:00pm

The four-hundred-year mystery of the Ashen Light of Venus

There aren't many four-hundred-year-old astronomical mysteries. A lot of the questions that early astronomers asked, modern astronomers have answered. And yet, on our astronomical neighbor, there's a weird glow that after hundreds of years of research that we still can't understand. » 6/27/13 8:40am 6/27/13 8:40am

As the storm breaks, the Moon and Venus converge

Everything came together for Spanish photographer Isaac Gutiérrez Pascual when he snapped this glorious photo. With the Moon in its crescent phase, and Venus in perfect alignment to the right, a flock of birds took flight just as a storm began to break up. » 5/13/13 2:30pm 5/13/13 2:30pm

Alien life in our solar system, according to pulp-art legend Frank R.…

Almost fifty years after his death, Frank R. Paul remains one of the biggest names in science fiction art and pulp magazine illustration. These visions of life on moons and planets throughout our solar system (recently posted to reddit with no attribution to Paul, his work, or his impact) provide us with another… » 4/08/13 3:20pm 4/08/13 3:20pm

Here is a gorgeous view of Venus . . . from Saturn

Just released: two spellbinding images of Venus as photographed from NASA's Cassini spacecraft (which, you'll recall, is all the way out in the Saturnian system). You'll want to check these out in hi-res, because good grief are they gorgeous. » 3/04/13 2:40pm 3/04/13 2:40pm

The Absolute Best Optical Illusions of 2012

2012 was a pretty epic year for visual trickery. We stared through telescopes, transfixed by Venus' cosmic trick of the light; gaped in disbelief at a Rubik's Cube that wasn't; and watched with morbid curiosity as celebrities transformed into grotesque mutations of their former selves. » 12/28/12 3:00pm 12/28/12 3:00pm

Should we terraform Venus first?

As a future terraforming species, we take it for granted that Mars will be our first megaproject. But while transforming the Red Planet into something more hospitable for life seems the most logical — if not easiest — first step towards colonizing the solar system, it may actually make more sense to tackle our sister… » 10/11/12 9:00am 10/11/12 9:00am

Everything you need to know to catch Tuesday's rare transit of Venus

On Tuesday, the planet Venus will pass between Earth and the Sun, appearing to cross the face of our star in a rare event known as a "transit." The next transit of Venus to be visible from Earth won't happen until December 2117. In other words: you don't want to miss this. Here's everything you need to know to catch a… » 6/04/12 5:30pm 6/04/12 5:30pm