Exploring Venus: A Timeline of Missions to the Fiery Planet

Venus, also known as the “morning star” or “evening star,” is the second planet from the sun and the hottest planet in our solar system. Its surface temperature is so hot that it can melt lead. Due to its thick atmosphere, Venus has been a difficult planet to explore. However, over the years, many countries have sent missions to study this fiery planet. In this article, we will take a timeline journey of these missions.

1961-1975: The Soviet Union sent several missions to Venus, starting with the Venera series in 1961. Venera 3, launched in 1965, became the first human-made object to land on another planet’s surface. However, communication ceased seconds after landing. Venera 7, launched in 1970, was the first successful landing on Venus. It transmitted data for 23 minutes, revealing that the surface temperature was 475°C. In 1975, Venera 9 and Venera 10, soft-landed on the planet and sent back images of the planet’s rocky, barren surface.

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1978-1994: The United States sent several missions to Venus during this period, starting with the Pioneer Venus Orbiter in 1978. It provided detailed information on the planet’s atmosphere, including its cloud structure, the presence of sulfuric acid, and the speed of its winds. In 1989, the Magellan spacecraft was launched to Venus. It used a radar system to map Venus’s surface and discovered evidence of volcanic activity. In 1990, the Galileo spacecraft conducted a flyby of Venus on its way to Jupiter, studying its atmosphere and magnetic field.

2005-2021: During this period, several missions were sent to Venus. The European Space Agency launched the Venus Express mission in 2005, which studied Venus’s atmosphere in great detail, including its cloud structure, the presence of lightning, and its magnetic field. In 2015, Japan launched the Akatsuki spacecraft, which arrived at Venus in 2015 after five years of travel. It studied Venus’s atmosphere and discovered a massive wave in the clouds, which spans the planet’s entire circumference. In 2021, NASA announced two new missions to Venus, the DAVINCI+ and VERITAS. The DAVINCI+ will study the planet’s atmosphere and composition, while VERITAS will map Venus’s surface in high resolution.

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In conclusion, Venus has been a challenging planet to explore due to its thick atmosphere and hot temperatures. However, over the years, many countries have sent missions to study and explore the planet. These missions have provided valuable information on the planet’s atmosphere, surface, and magnetic field. With new missions planned in the future, we can expect to learn more about this fiery planet and its mysteries.

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