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Radio Signals Detected in Venus’s Atmosphere

The Parker Solar Probe is on a mission to study the sun, but it keeps discovering new things about our planetary neighbor Venus’s. Last summer a NASAspacecraft flew by Venus’s and detected a natural radio signal from Earth’s twin. This signal indicated that the probe passed through the upper atmosphere of Venus, obtaining the first direct measurement of it in almost 30 years.

The studies were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Scientists were surprised to discover that the Venusian atmosphere looks different now. The solar mission was launched in 2018, is intended to study the sun and unravel some of its mysteries. The probe will travel through the sun’s atmosphere over seven years and come closer to the surface of our star than any spacecraft before it.

Venus’s is instrumental to the probe’s success. The spacecraft uses the gravity of Venus’s as it swings around the planet, called a gravity assist, to help bend the probe’s orbit and bring it closer and closer to the sun. During Venusian flybys on July 11, 2020, the probe collected evidence that Venus’s‘ upper atmosphere goes through some different changes that are impacted by the solar cycle, or our sun’s 11-year activity cycle

The spacecraft also snapped an image that shows an unexpected side of our planetary neighbor. This was the third Venus’s gravity assist for the Parker Solar Probe. During the flyby, the probe came within 517 miles of the planet’s surface. Previous missions to explore Venus include NASA’s Pioneer Orbiter from 1978 to 1992 and the European Space Agency’s Express from 2005 to 2014, both of which orbited the planet.

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