Instruments measuring grasses detect oxygen on Venus


The space probe “Pepicolombo” was able to detect ions made of carbon and oxygen around Venus for the first time. The measuring devices used were co-developed by the Graz Institute IWF.

The European-Japanese space probe “Pepicolombo” collected data from the atmosphere of Venus en route to Mercury – proving for the first time that Venus loses particles of carbon and oxygen to space, according to the Austrian Academy of Sciences. This brings new insight into the development and composition of planetary atmospheres.

Great joy among cross researchers

The measuring instruments were developed in collaboration with the Institute for Space Research (IWF) in Graz, researcher and co-author David Fischer says: “It is great to see that years of intensive work have already paid off before 'BepiColombo' reaches its goal. .”

According to IWF director Christian Helling, the measurements of Venus allow us to learn more about the atmosphere around the planets and the interaction with the magnetosphere and solar wind. Electrons are emitted from Venus, creating an electric field – which drives carbon and oxygen ions out of its atmosphere.

It is expected to reach Mercury in 2025

“BepiColombo” is a twin spacecraft developed in collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). It was launched on October 20, 2018 and is expected to reach its destination of Mercury by the end of 2025. During its journey it orbits Earth, Venus and Mercury several times to combat the Sun's strong gravitational pull. “BepiColombo” aims to study the magnetic field around Mercury and the influence of the solar wind. Researchers hope to gain insights into the planet's internal structure. Ultimately, this will help us better understand the core of our Earth.

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