Venus’s Poor Polar Field

The data from the Venus Express mission is just being analysed and reported and an interesting fact has emerged. Just at the end of the mission on the spacecrafts last flyby, the closest to the planet it made, it detected a more linear and less noisy magnetic field. Many planets have magnetic fields but Venus is unique  as its atmosphere is weakly conducting causing its magnetic poles to be very chaotic and disorganised. It appears however that this all stops below the ionsophere and the magnetic field becomes very earth-like although quite a bit weaker. Using magnetic fields to understand a planets interior can be very useful although for Venus it is likely that only a lander would be able to use the magnetic fields for scientific research as they deteriorate quickly in the upper atmosphere. The challenge then is to create a lander which can carry the necessary equipment and be able to function on Venus’s perilous surface for long enough. This will be high on the priority list for the next mission to Venus.


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