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February 16 2012
Planet lovers take note: Venus is spinning even slower than astronomers thought, according to new data from a European space probe.
In the early 1990s scientists with NASA's Magellan mission calculated that a single rotation of Venus takes 243.015 Earth days, based on the speed of surface features passing beneath the orbiting spacecraft.
But scientists now mapping Venus's surface with the European Space Agency's Venus Express orbiter were surprised to find the same features up to 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) from where they were expected to be, based on the previous measurements.
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