The objective of the ESA Venus Express mission is to study the plasma environment, atmosphere, and surface of Venus.
The Space Systems Laboratory is a Co-I for the magnetometer instrument. Our role is to identify interference so that it can be removed, resulting in a very high quality data set for scientific use.
The Venus Express spacecraft was based on a modification of the platform used for the Mars express mission. The platform modifications were primarily changes required to reflect the different thermal environment. In addition, there were also some science payload differences.
The original Mars Express mission did not include a magnetometer instrument. As a result, a magnetic cleanliness program was not required and so the spacecraft generates considerable magnetic noise.
A magnetometer instrument, however, was included within the science payload of Venus Express in spite of th fact that VEX is a magnetically noisy spacecraft. As a result, the magnatic measurements made by VEX contain components due to both the naturally occurring magnetic fields and magnetic fields resulting from the operation of the spacecraft. Hence, to get scientifically useful results the stray fields generated by the spacecraft need to be identified.