EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / C. CARREAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / C. CARREAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Venus Express spacecraft approaching Venus, artwork. Venus Express launched on 9th November 2005 and will take 163 days to reach Venus. It will primarily study the thick atmosphere, which is responsible for Venus' "runaway greenhouse effect". The atmosphere is mainly carbon dioxide, and it traps solar heat so effectively that the surface temperature on Venus is around 470 degrees Celsius. Venus Express is a virtual twin of ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, launched in 2003 to study Mars. This approach saved time and money on the mission.
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