Out of Fuel, Venus Express Is Falling Gently to Its Death in Planet's Skies
After more than eight years orbiting Venus, the European spacecraft's comes to an end.
Just above the surface of Venus, one of Earth's most intrepid robots is slipping into a sulfuric hereafter.
Over the next few months, Venus Express will fall slowly through the 150-mile-thick (250 kilometers) atmosphere consisting of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid that envelops the planet. The European Space Agency announced Tuesday that the mission has ended, after losing contact with the spacecraft in late November when it ran out of gas.
For the past 8.5 years, Venus Express has been orbiting our nearest neighbor, quietly unveiling the shrouded planet's secrets.
"The spacecraft is expected to drop below 150 kilometers [93 miles] in early January 2015, and plunge much deeper into the atmosphere of Venus by early February," says