Venus Express

BYU Physics
Optical properties of
matter from visible to
x-rays &
Mars Group
 Venus Express
 What does the EUV and thin film group do?
Optical properties of matter from visible to xrays:
– Current projects: U and thorium as EUV reflectors.
– Understanding light scattering in the EUV.
– VUV light for cleaning and oxidation.
 Mars Group?
– Student initiated projects: plants in high CO2
environment. Optical properties of rocks for endoliths
– MDRS & Musk observatory support.
Venus Express
ESA: follow on to
Mars Express.
to launch Nov. 9
What is it? Why?
0/24/venus/ -ton spacecraft scheduled to
launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome,
Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz-Fregat rocket.
 The mission hopes to solve is why a planet
so similar to Earth in size, mass and
composition has evolved so differently.
 Unlike the Magellan probe, which used radar
to generate a surface map, Venus Express
has its sights set on the planet’s thick,
turbulent and toxic atmosphere.
 “Venus Express does not have the same
mission as Magellan, aside from the clear
objective of studying Venus,” McCoy said.
“[Ours] is an orbiter designed to study the
atmosphere globally over a long period,
whereas Magellan was designed to study
the surface.”
 Among other things, researchers hope to
understand what role the “greenhouse
effect” of trapped carbon dioxide, water
vapor and sulphuric aerosols gases played
in the heating of Venus’ atmosphere to its
current average surface temperature of
about 869 degrees Fahrenheit (465 degree
 To perform its mission, Venus Express
carries three spectrometers, one
magnetometer, a high-resolution camera,
radio tools and a plasma-watching
instrument dubbed ASPERA similar to one
aboard Mars Express.
What does this have to do with BYU?
 Student mirror goes to Venus
 When BYU student Sarah Barton was a little girl,
she dreamed of assisting in space exploration.
Now the physics major has helped design a
mirror that will orbit the planet Venus.
 The European Space Agency solicited the help of
BYU in designing the mirror, which will be
onboard the Venus Express spacecraft as it
launches Oct. 26 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
Barton and a team of fellow students created the
mirror under the direction of David Allred,
professor of physics and project advisor.
 “It’s really cool knowing that something
you made is going to space,” Barton said.
“Not everyone gets to do that.”
 The project was the first for Barton, who
volunteered for the task with a limited
physics background. She learned about the
project in an introductory class by Allred.
How did this happen?