PARIS (AFP) – The space probe that spent eight years carrying out a detailed analysis of Venus is out of fuel and will float to a fiery demise in the planet’s toxic atmosphere, the European Space Agency has announced.
Venus Express “was running on fumes”, Adam Williams, ESA’s acting manager of the craft said on Tuesday. “We are pleased to have been pushing the boundaries right down to the last drop.”
Before its end, which is expected to occur in the next several weeks, Express provided data that helped scientists draw important con-clusions about the planet, which is similar to Earth’s size and mass.
Data collected by Express show Venus is still geologically active and may have once had oceans similar to those on Earth.
Contrary to its alluring name, Venus is now the planet from hell, with an atmosphere so hot, toxic and heavy that any visitor would risk being simultaneously melted, suffocated and crushed.
The planet’s searing surface temperature of 477 Celsius (890 Fahrenheit) is the hottest in the Solar System.