The Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL / Birkbeck


Venus is slowly losing its atmosphere

26 February 2015

New research on ionospheric photoelectrons in the tail of Venus, led by CPS members at UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), shows that the planet is losing 300kg of its atmosphere per day.

The research, from two papers published in the journal Planetary and Space Science, is based on data from the ASPERA-4 electron spectrometer on ESA's Venus Express spacecraft.

Image: Artist's impression of the interaction between Venus and the solar wind. Copyright ESA (Image by C. Carreau).

Tsang, S.M.E., A.J. Coates, G. H. Jones, R.A. Frahm, J.D. Winningham, S. Barabash, R. Lundin, A. Fedorov, Ionospheric Photoelectrons at Venus:  Case Studies and First Observation in the Tail, Planet. Space Sci., http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2015.01.019, in press, Feb 2015.

Coates, A.J., A. Wellbrock, R.A. Frahm, J.D. Winningham, A. Fedorov, S. Barabash, R. Lundin, Distant ionospheric photoelectron energy peak observations at Venus, Planetary and Space Science, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2015.02.003, in press, Feb 2015