In Brief: Venus and its exploration
- Venus has a solid surface by virtue of being one of the 3 inner planets besides Mercury and Earth.
- It is nearly the same size of the earth.
- The atmosphere of Venus is composed of 95% carbon dioxide and thus high greenhouse effect.
- Sulfur compounds make up about 0.015% due to volcanic eruptions.
- This sulfur compounds make for the thick and hot Sulfuric acid clouds that envelop Venus.
- About 80% of the surface of Venus is composed of flat plains of volcanic origin.
- Unusual Motion
- Unusual thing about Venus is that its rotation period is longer than its orbital period. (Rotation on its own axis – 243 days, Orbital period around the sun – 224.7 days)
- Besides it is the only planet which has retrograde rotation, meaning it spins in the direction opposite to the direction in which it orbits the Sun. (Sun would rise in west and set in east on Venus)
- No magnetic field
- Due to slow rotation of Venus it has no global magnetic field. (earth’s magnetic field is due to rotation of iron core)
Exploration of Venus
NASA’s Mariner 2
- 1st flyby of Venus in 1962
- Detected radiation intensity to conclude that surface temperature of Venus was more than 400°C.
Venera Landers of Soviet Union
10 successful landers to Venus including the following important ones are:
- 1970 – Venera 7 lander of Soviet Union
- The Venera 7 was a lander mission to Venus of Soviet Union.
- It survived a descent through the Venusian atmosphere
- It transmitted data for a few seconds directly from the planet’s surface.
- Venera 7 finally conformed the surface temperature to be at 460°C
- 1980s Venera 13 lander
- Confirmed that Venus’s surface is made of material from volcanic activity successfully on the surface of Venus
- 2026- Venera D
- Orbiter and lander of Russia’s Roscosmos.
- NASA’s Orbiter mission in 1990s that used radio altimeter to determine the topography of Venus.
Venus Express by ESA
- Orbiter mission of European Space Agency launched in 2005
Mission Venus – ISRO
- ISRO has confirmed orbiter mission to Venus in 2023.