An Amazing Missions to Venus: Probing The Inferno of The Hothouse Planet

The radar mapping of Venus by the orbiting Pioneer revealed surface details of areas as small as 60 miles. Because of the extreme temperatures, there is no surface water on Venus. The planet is very smooth, much of it covered by a flat rolling plain; only about 10 percent of the area consists of highlands. The largest upland region is Ishtar Terra, about the same size as Australia. At Ishtar’s eastern end are the Maxwell Montes, the highest mountains on Venus; they rise some seven miles above the surface, higher than Mount Everest.

An Amazing Missions to Venus: Probing the Inferno of the Hothouse Planet

By Mr Ghaz, May 8, 2010

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An Amazing Missions to Venus: Probing the Inferno of the Hothouse Planet

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Venus is our nearest neighbor in space, and the planet closest in size to our own. But there the comparisons end. The Venus revealed by recent space probes in many ways resembles a medieval vision of hell. Its surface is roasted at temperatures of more than 900F, the atmospheric pressure is more than 90 times greater than that of Earth, and the “air” is thick smog of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid.

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A great deal of what is known about this most inhospitable of planets comes from the Venera spacecraft program of the Russian, started in the 1960’s. In addition, the United States has surveyed the planet with Pioneer probes and with other unmanned vehicles.

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The first Venera probes did not survive the journey through the Venusians atmosphere to the surface, although in 1967b Venera 4 transmitted data for 94 minutes before burning up during its descent. In 1970 Venera 7 landed on the surface and broadcast for 23 minutes before being destroyed, and in 1982 Venera 13 landed and transmitted for 127 minutes. The data sent back included two color photographs of the flat, desolate terrain.

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Two American Pioneer craft arrived at Venus In 1978. One was an orbiter that sent back radar observations of the surface of the planet and measurements of its upper atmosphere.

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The second Pioneer was a “multiprobe,” consisting of a “bus” with four smaller probes that transmitted data while falling through the atmosphere. One probe survived the impact of landing to transmit from the surface for 67 minutes.

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These achievements may seem modest compared with those of the ns missions to the moon and to Mars. Yet building instruments to withstand the extreme conditions on and around Venus represents a remarkable feat of engineering, and one that has yielded some fascinating results.

Mapping Venus

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The radar mapping of Venus by the orbiting Pioneer revealed surface details of areas as small as 60 miles. Because of the extreme temperatures, there is no surface water on Venus. The planet is very smooth, much of it covered by a flat rolling plain; only about 10 percent of the area consists of highlands. The largest upland region is Ishtar Terra, about the same size as Australia. At Ishtar’s eastern end are the Maxwell Montes, the highest mountains on Venus; they rise some seven miles above the surface, higher than Mount Everest.

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But scientists are most interested in two other highland areas – Beta Regio and the Scorpion’s Tail-which they suspect may contain active volcanoes. A sudden fiftyfold increase in the amount of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere detected in 1978 is thought to have been the result of a massive volcanic eruption some 20 times more powerful than that of Mount St. Helens in 1980.

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Much remains to be learned about what lies beneath the clouds of Venus, but conditions there make it extraordinary difficult to uncover new information. However, in 1985 the Russian adopted new tactics in its exploration of the planet.

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Venus rotates on its axis very slowly; a Venusians day lasts 243 Earth days. But its atmosphere moves very quickly, as winds of up 250 miles per hour circle the planet in just four Earth days.

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The Russian made good use of these winds. As the spacecraft Vega 1 and Vega 2 flew past Venus, balloons were dropped from the craft. For 46 hours they floated 33 miles above the surface of Venus.

Conditions are more tolerable at this height: the atmospheric pressure is about half that of Earth’s at sea level, and the temperature is a comfortable 90F, although the balloons still had to withstand the corrosive sulfuric acid of the planet’s clouds.

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The missions were successful. For the present it seems that floating experiments above the hellish surface conditions is probably the best strategy for getting a long look at Venus.

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15 Responses to “An Amazing Missions to Venus: Probing The Inferno of The Hothouse Planet”
  1. ShadowPsychos Says...

    On May 8, 2010 at 7:20 am

    great article…awesome pics :)


  2. Christine Ramsay Says...

    On May 8, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I have always found the planets fascinating. This article really brings Venus to life. Well done.

    Christine


  3. monica55 Says...

    On May 8, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Great work again my friend. Keep sharing.
    Monica.


  4. CHAN LEE PENG Says...

    On May 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Another great piece to share with us, my friend! Give you “liked it”.


  5. silentbob14 Says...

    On May 8, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Well written ;] Interesting to read ;]


  6. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On May 8, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Isn’t it simply amazing, I can hardly grasp it. Great information and out standing pictures.


  7. Uma Shankari Says...

    On May 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Great share. As usual.


  8. Phill Senters Says...

    On May 9, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Great article Mr G . But with days 234 time as long as ours and 900 degrees, It doesn’t sound like a great vacation destination.


  9. papaleng Says...

    On May 13, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Another well-researched article!


  10. Robert Says...

    On May 16, 2010 at 10:38 am

    There’s always a chance some kind of airborne life exists in the upper Venus atmosphere.


  11. webseowriters Says...

    On October 19, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing


  12. albert1jemi Says...

    On October 19, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    great share


  13. PSingh1990 Says...

    On October 19, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Nice Share.

    :-)


  14. Anuradha Ramkumar Says...

    On October 20, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Truly amazing…I always love your articles as well as the images tha accompany them.


  15. CHAN LEE PENG Says...

    On October 20, 2010 at 7:25 am

    This is truly amazing humans have explored up to space. Great piece. :-)


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