Before recently, Venus was considered a low priority planet to explore; however, the discovery of phosphine on Venus has reignited interest in this hellish realm.
Ancients believed Venus had an environment similar to Earth with jungle-like foliage and carbonated oceans, but radio observations of brightness temperatures suggested otherwise – suggesting its surface must have been dry rather than humid.
Soviet spacecraft from the Venera series achieved numerous firsts, including being the first probes to land on Venus. Venera 13 and 14 each spent hours exploring Venus’ surface while taking photos and collecting samples for analysis.
NASA’s DAVINCI mission will launch in 2029 with an ambitious probe, equipped to penetrate Venus’ clouds before landing on its surface and detect organic molecules–potential signs of life.
The Soviet Venera 8 spacecraft featured both a bus and lander that successfully visited Venus. The latter took pictures and conducted analyses on its surface.
This lander successfully descended through Venus’ atmosphere for 50 minutes before succumbing to overwhelming atmospheric pressures and disintegrating.
DAVINCI+ will fly by Venus several times to study its clouds from orbit before dropping a probe that can descend directly to its surface.
Venera 9 eventually reached Venus after an extended four-and-a-half month journey that lasted longer than anticipated. It released two atmospheric entry probes and an 18 minute-lasting lander for atmospheric testing before returning back home.
The lander successfully separated from its bus, transmitted atmospheric data and took pictures of the surface; however, due to an issue with its camera lens cap not dislodging properly, no color images were returned from its camera.
Thermally protected main lander designed to last seven to eight hours, the new NASA probe surpasses four times longer-lived Soviet Venera 13 probe that ended its mission in 1982. It would gather surface data before sending it back down.
As with their twin, Venera 9, these missions used a flyby bus which released a lander, collecting weather data and samples of Venus terrain.
Venera 11 was another Soviet spacecraft to successfully reach Venus and send back images in black and white. Its lander was protected by a spherical heat shield before gradually slowing down by using protective hemispheric shells, three parachutes, and a disk-shaped drag brake before landing.
On 5 March 1982, it landed at 13 S, 310 E and survived for 53 minutes before becoming damaged and returning home.
Venera 12’s flight platform carried solar wind and ionosphere electron instruments as well as two gamma-ray burst detectors, while its descent probe collected atmospheric data for 110 minutes before succumbing to Venus’ extreme temperatures and pressures.
Soviet engineers modified their previous design of lander for use on their 1984 mission of flybys of Venus and Comet Halley called Vega. Redesigned spacecraft used landers but also launched atmospheric balloons for data relay.
Venera 13 managed to survive two hours on Venus despite temperatures and pressures 75 times those found here, collecting soil samples which appear similar to oceanic basalt.
The 1983 Venera 15 and 16 missions, orbiter probes like earlier spacecraft, included the first high-resolution imaging radar system to map Venus’ highlands. They covered about one quarter of it during their two month mission.
VERITAS will be the first mission to search for signs of life on Venus, using an orbiter and probe to examine its atmosphere as well as surface soil samples.
Its lander will conduct an exploration of Venus’ surface, searching for rock formations with ripple marks, thin layering and curvilinear fractures that might be indicative of sedimentary processes or be related to impacts or turbidity currents – providing scientists with vital clues as to how Venus has changed over time.
This data set contains radar image mosaics of Venus from the Venera 15/16 Synthetic Aperture Radar. They cover regions from its north pole down to 30 degrees north latitude.
NASA’s 2029 Venus mission will explore whether or not its atmosphere contains components of water and may provide insight into why Earth’s sister planet became such an inhospitable place that its surface melts lead.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will create a technology demonstration instrument for this mission. This device will test out a novel method for sending ultra-precise signals that guide spacecraft maneuvers and enhance radio science observations.
Like its other Venera counterparts, this probe included both a cruise “bus” and an entry probe specifically tailored for atmospheric measurements; these instruments were optimally tailored for atmospheric analysis as Venus’ heat and pressure often rendered surface instruments useless within minutes.