Mysteries of the Heart

Venus Express

Venus Express Tragectory

Venus Express' trajectory to Venus
Credits: ESA - C. Carreau

On November 9, 2005, a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to carry the European Space Agency's "Venus Express" spacecraft on its 5-month 400-million kilometer journey to Venus. Its purpose -- "to penetrate the mysteries of Venus with a precision never before achieved."

September 3, 2007 UPDATE
500 days at Venus, and the surprises keep coming

Venus Express has now orbited Earth’s twin for 500 Earth days, completing as many orbits. While the satellite maintains steady and excellent performance, the planet continues to surprise and amaze us.

"This artist's impression to the right shows the trajectory of ESA's Venus Express to its final destination, planet Venus. In the first week of March 2006, the spacecraft crossed the path of the planet around the Sun. The trajectory took it inside the orbit of Venus to ‘anticipate’ the celestial motion of the planet and finally to catch up with it on 11 April 2006. Once at Venus, the spacecraft will have travelled 400 million kilometres. The injection into orbit will put the spacecraft into a first, elongated orbit lasting about 9 days. On 7 May 2006, after a series of manoeuvres and 16 ever smaller loops around the planet, Venus Express will reach its final operational orbit, lasting 24 hours." (ESA)

Venus Express Double Vortex

Atmospheric vortex over Venus' North pole
Credits: ESA - AOES Medialab

Venus Double Vortex

In mid-April 2006, Venus Express arrives and begins to transmitt its first data back to Earth. Occuring in synchronistic time, as Venus and Uranus conjoin in sidereal Aquarius (April 18, 2006) (breaking away from the establised and conventional understandings of the Heart / radical new discoveries in the humanitarian-focused art-sciences.

A Global Effort: "The prime contractor for the spacecraft is Astrium, France, but the main structure was built in England, at Astrium in Stevenage. Mission operations will be located at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. Communications with the spacecraft will be via ESA ground stations around the world. Immediately after launch, the stations at Villafranca (Spain), Perth (Australia), and Kourou (French Guiana) will be used; when the spacecraft is in orbit around Venus, the newly-commissioned ESA ground station at Cebreros near Madrid, Spain, will be the main ground station with occasional support from New Norcia, Australia. The Venus Express Science Operation Centre (VSOC) at ESTEC in the Netherlands will coordinate the scientific observations and assist the experiment groups in the operation of their instruments." Professor F. W. Taylor - Halley Professor of Physics at Oxford University (one of the proposers of the mission)." (ESA)

To learn more about Venus and Venus Express, and to see images, animations, and movies visit the European Space Agencies Site at:

Go directly to Double Vortex Animation

"Two enormous atmospheric vortices, with very complex shapes and behaviour, rotate vertically over the poles of Venus, recycling the atmosphere downwards. The polar region or the 'black hole' seen in the images is where the polar dipole dominates. The polar dipole is the name given to a giant double-vortex, each of which is about 2000 km across, similar to the eye of a hurricane. The double-vortex has been seen at both the north and south poles, rotating in opposite directions (clockwise at the north pole and counter-clockwise at the south pole). Observations with Venus Express show that the vortex at the south pole also changes its shape rapidly, from one orbit to the next." (ESA)