UnNews:Scientists Release New Venus Images; Serena pics coming soon

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13 April 2006

Unnews tennis

Logo of the Venus Express mission.

(Berlin, Germany) European astronomers were ecstatic today as the Venus Express spacecraft successfully went into orbit around tennis star Venus Williams. This is Europe's first mission to that heavenly body; the United States has been probing her for years now. A mission to twin Serena is planned for next year.

The spacecraft's innovative infrared camera is able to penetrate the thick layers of clothing on Venus, revealing the secrets that lie on the surface. Researcher Hans Keller described some of the new findings, "We always suspected there were two large mounds towards the north pole of the body's surface, but now we have proof. They are beautiful," he added.

First images of the surface have just been released on the ESA's (European Space Agency's) website, and amateur astronomy fans have also made them available for download on peer-to-peer filesharing networks. Enthusiast Jack Pimpleton commented, "These pics are awesome!" Drooling on his keyboard, he confessed, "I can't wait till they release a video of the fly-by." ESA scientists confirm that a movie made by the spacecraft is being edited to help fund future missions. Keller noted that "The video will require a subscription to our website for $29.99 a month. But 15 second clips will be available for free."

NASA scientists are watching the European mission with interest, but have even more ambitious plans for themselves. "Venus is great," explains specialist Rob Rover, "but she's nothing compared to the asteroid landing mission launching next week." The project's goal is to reach one of the larger asteroids in the Kuiper Belt, nicknamed "Alba" by scientists. The revolutionary plan calls for a spacecraft to not just photograph Alba, but to actually "Drill down deep inside the asteroid," according to Rover.

The Venus Express mission will last for about a year, at which time the spacecraft's batteries are expected to become drained and flaccid.

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