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Planetary RadioAugust 5, 2014

A Death-Defying Climax for Venus Express

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Håkan Svedhem

Venus Express Project Scientist

Venus Express Project Scientist Håkan Svedhem tells us about the spacecraft’s harrowing descent into the Venusian atmosphere, what it is currently up to, and what he’d like to see next at that forbidding planet. Emily Lakdawalla is following Rosetta’s rendezvous with a comet. Bill Nye joins us from Japan to celebrate the announcement of instruments for the 2020 Mars Rover, and Bruce Betts braves the humid atmosphere of SoCal for What’s Up.

Venus Express aerobraking

ESA / C. Carreau

Venus Express aerobraking
After finishing its scientific mission at Venus, Venus Express was commanded to test aerobraking, requiring the spacecraft to descend to an altitude of 130 kilometers, within the upper atmosphere, from June 18 to July 11, 2014.

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Trivia Contest

This week's prize is "Curiosity: An Inside Look at the Mars Rover Mission and the People Who Made It Happen" by Rod Pyle, and a Mars Science Laboratory mouse pad.

This week's question:

Who was the first Mars Rover named after?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Tuesday, August 12, at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

Approximately how long was the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle that astronauts drove on the moon?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

On Apollo 11, what was used to make a broken circuit breaker work on the Lunar Module so that it could leave the moon?


Buzz Aldrin used a felt tip pen to fix the broken circuit breaker on the Apollo 11 lunar module. He says he still has it.

Listen more: Mars 2020, comets, podcasts and videos, Venus Express, comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Planetary Radio, Venus, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), Bill Nye

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