May 19, 2011

Venus Rising

The Soviets successfully landed several spacecraft on Venus, beginning in 1975. Seven of the landers conducted chemical analysis of rocks, which indicate a composition similar to that of terrestrial basaltic volcanic rocks. In 1981, the Venera 13 lander provided the first color images of the surface of Venus. The US sent Pioneer to Venus in 1979 and Magellan in 1989 to continue the work of mapping the surface of the planet. Neither landed on the surface of the planet.

At the surface, the atmospheric pressure is 92 times that of the Earth's at sea-level. Venus has a surface temperature of about 900° F. It is about 84% of the size of earth and a Venusian day is 243 Earth days. Venus rotates from east to west, so the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east.