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  All aboard for Europe's Venus Express mission
Updated 09 November 2002, 12.42
Venus Express - Esa
A mission to find out more about the planet Venus has been given the green light.

  Click here to see pix of space form Hubble

Europe's version of Nasa - the European Space Agency (Esa) - says they will send a craft called the Venus Express to the planet in 2005.

Scientists are launching the mission to try and understand how and why Venus developed so differently to Earth.

Venus us a similar size to our own planet. But its atmosphere is much thicker than ours.

Venus is boiling!
Venus is boiling!

And the temperature on the ground is boiling! It's so hot is can melt lead.

The Express will use the same designs as the Mars Express probe which will take off to the Red Planet in 2003.

But the mission has been on and off. Earlier in the year, plans were put on hold because more studies needed to be done.

Then Italy - one of the Esa countries - did not know if they would be able to afford the mission. But a plan where they just provide spare parts and some money has been worked out for them.

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