Trivia

Hard

The European Space Agency’s Spacecraft Venus Express Is Studying Venus And?

Charting Solar Flares
Recording Gravitational Anomalies
Mapping Mercury's Surface
Searching For Life On Earth

Answer: Searching For Life On Earth

The primary mission of the European Space Agency’s Venus Express orbiter was, as the name strongly implies, to study Venus (specifically the atmosphere thereof). The mission duration was intended to be two years with extended measurements made of the Venetian atmosphere but, thanks to favorable conditions and multiple mission extensions, the craft managed to squeeze out nearly nine years of observations before it “deorbited” in early 2015.

While that might have been the primary mission, the secondary mission was one that might leave, at first glance, more than a few readers puzzled. The secondary mission of Venus Express was to find life on Earth.

Why find life on Earth when we already know life on Earth exists? While in orbit around Venus, the view Venus Express had of Earth was very similar to the view we, with other observation equipment like space telescopes and probes, have of distant Earth-like planets. The secondary mission of Venus Express wasn’t as much to prove that life exists on Earth but to prove that the technology we have and the techniques we’re using to find life on other planets would work on the only confirmed test subject we have: dear old Earth. By carefully observing Earth at such a distance and recording every bit of information that could be discerned from so far away with the spectrometers, cameras, and other equipment aboard Venus Express, we’re better able to apply what we know about observations of life-hospitable planets at a distance to our searches for life elsewhere in the universe.

Trivia

Easy

Until The 1970s, X-Ray Machines Were Used For Which Of These Decidedly Non-Medical Uses?

Trivia

Hard

Star Wars’ Iconic “Opening Crawl” Text Was Inspired By?

Trivia

Hard

A Group Of Scientists Actively Reference Which Musical Star In Their Articles?

Trivia

Hard

The Heaviest Computer System Ever Constructed Was Used For?

Trivia

Very Hard

If You’re Eating Potato Chips There’s A Good Chance The Potato Was Grown In?

Trivia

Hard

Canada And Which Of These U.S. States Have Very Similar Population Sizes?

Trivia

Easy

Conservationists Are Using Drones To Protect And Monitor What Endangered Animal?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Most Abundant Fish On Earth Is The?

Trivia

Hard

The Security Feature Wherein “VOID” Appears On Photocopied Documents Is Called A?

Trivia

Hard

There Is A Species Of Moth That Has Adapted To Living Entirely On What?