Trivia

Hard

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

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

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

Hard

The Most Accurate Clock Built To-Date Relies On?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Oldest Surviving Playable Sound Recording Captured What?

Trivia

Hard

Despite Popular Belief, Which Of These Animals Rarely Carries Rabies?

Trivia

Hard

Modern Sheet Glass Is Produced By Floating Molten Glass On?

Trivia

Hard

What Brand Of Cigarettes Did The X-Files’ Smoking Man Smoke?

Trivia

Hard

Which Sci-Fi Show Was Originally Intended To Be An Educational Family Show?

Trivia

Hard

Video Games Frequently Use Which Of These Techniques To Create The Illusion Of 3D Space?

Trivia

Hard

Which Tech Firm’s Headquarters Makes A Cameo As The Cyberdyne Headquarters In Terminator Genisys?

Trivia

Easy

A Deadly Wave Of What Swept Through Boston In 1919?

Trivia

Very Hard

For Centuries Russians Kept Their Milk Fresh By Dropping What Into It?