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A breath of Venus
What is the link between Earth and Venus? Find out with this new educational film, where scientists walk you to enchanting places on Earth to unveil the secrets of Venus.
 The film consists of four chapters. In the first and main chapter, A breath of Venus, two scientists climb atop one of the most famous active volcanoes on Earth. From the island of Vulcano, Italy, the scientists talk about Venus impressive green-house effect, give glimpses of how volcanism may work at Venus as compared to Earth, and illustrate the principles used for such investigations on other planets.
The three additional chapters of the film bring our attention to other fascinating aspects of Venus exploration all addressed relentlessly by ESAs Venus Express.

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Venus is a hellish place of high temperatures and crushing air pressure. The European Space Agency's Venus Express mission adds into this mix the first confirmation that the Venusian atmosphere generates its own lightning. The discovery is part of the Venus Express science findings that appear in a special section of the Nov. 29 issue of the journal Nature.

"In addition to all the pressure and heat, we can confirm there is lightning on Venus -- maybe even more activity than there is here on Earth. Not a very good place to vacation, that is for sure" - Christopher Russell, a NASA-sponsored scientist on Venus Express from the University of California, Los Angeles, and lead author of one of the Nature papers.

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Measurements from Venus Express, which arrived at the planet last year, support that hypothesis, looking at amounts of hydrogen remaining in the atmosphere compared with concentrations of deuterium, a heavier version of hydrogen. The heavier deuterium would escape more slowly into space, and Venus Express detected a deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio 150 times as high as on Earth, a finding that agreed with earlier measurements. What was surprising, though, was that the deuterium concentration turned out to be 2.5 times as high in the upper atmosphere as near the ground.

We havent completely figured out what it means yet. Once we crack this mystery, this will be an important clue to this overall question of the history of water - David Grinspoon of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

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Did life once thrive on Evil Twin Venus?
Today it is our idea of hell but scientists now think that Venus was once much more Earth-like and awash with water until an eco-disaster struck.
They have been able to work out details of an ancient global warming catastrophe that turned a world similar to Earth in mass and size into the noxious and inhospitable planet it is today thanks to Venus Express - a spacecraft built by European scientists and engineers which has been studying our fiery sister for two years.
Astronomers gathered at the European Space Agency headquarters in Paris today to reveal what the orbiting probe has told them about this hothouse world, where temperatures soar to 400ēC. Intriguingly, they cannot exclude the possibility that primitive organisms could lurk there - that is, if the planet had ever harboured life.

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Image showing the fluorescence emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the upper atmosphere of Venus on the day side. Image: Esa.
Venus' atmosphere is composed chiefly of carbon dioxide (CO2)

Observations of the planet Venus might assist efforts to tackle the threat of climate change here on Earth.
Data from a European probe orbiting Venus paints a picture of a planet that may once have been like Earth, but later evolved in a very different way.
Venus has undergone runaway greenhouse warming, where trapped solar radiation has heated the surface to an average temperature of 467C (872F).
New results from the Venus Express mission appear in Nature journal.

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This video is composed of a set of images acquired by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on board ESAs Venus Express, during two observations slots in August 2007. The spacecraft was flying at about 65 000 km distance from the planet.
The video was obtained at 3.8-micrometre wavelength, allowing the instrument to see the cloud top thermal emission at an altitude of about 60-65 km. The south polar dipole, a complex atmospheric vortex-like feature situated over the south pole of the planet, can be clearly seen.
The change of the polar vortex shape in a time scale of a few hours is remarkably noticeable here.

Credits: ESA/VIRTIS-VenusX/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESIA (A.Cardesin Moinelo, IASF-INAF)
 
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This image is a false colour mosaic of the surface of Venus, created from about 1000 Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) images taken in April and August 2007 by the Venus Express orbiter.
The images were taken in the infrared with a spectral wavelength of 1 micrometre. The mapped area covers Beta and Phoebe Regios in the mid- to equatorial latitudes.

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Lowlands have a higher surface temperature, and stronger thermal emission, and are marked in orange. Highlands and mountains with elevations of up to 5 km above the Venusian sea level are about 40°C colder and appear blue in the mosaic.
The large orange-yellow region, Hinemoa Planitia, represents relatively young lowland terrain that cover about 70% of the surface, and  formed about 700 million years ago by volcanic eruptions that covered almost the entire planet.
Devana Chasma, the elongated feature connecting Beta Regio and Phoebe Regio, is a rift zone, resembling East-African rift on Earth. Rifts are expected to be the centres of current volcanic activity on Venus.

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Venus's Orbit Eccentricity Precession, Last Million Years

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=lPF2JH4iuzM]

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Venus's Orbit Inclination Precession, Last Million Years

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=WZc0v6LGGkE]

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