Venus is a planet that is unlivable for humans, having an atmosphere filed with carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid clouds. The temperature can rise very high, reaching up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even though Earth and Venus have vast differences, they also share many similarities. They are approximately the same size, and both formed around their surrounding star, the Sun. Research has shown that Venus used to have water, maybe even oceans. But as the Sun grew hotter and bigger, the water slowly evaporated. This phenomenon caused Venus to develop differently than Earth and enter a “runaway greenhouse” condition, preventing Venus from retaining liquid water.
The Soviet Venera missions are the most successful missions to Venus. The program launched in 1961 by the Soviet Union. The Venera 1 flight took place on February 12, 1961; however, they lost contact after one week. The operation had a total of 16 missions within 22 years. The operations last flight took place on June 7, 1983. Between the years of 1962 to 1989, there were 35 missions from other countries.
Venera 13, launched on October 30, 1981, was the first mission to successfully photograph Venus. This was a huge step for science. The pictures revealed orange-brown flat bedrock surfaces with small, flat, thin rectangular rocks.
In the 21st century, there have been two missions to Venus. The first spacecraft, operated by the European Space Agency’s Venus Express, lasted from 2006 to 2014. Currently in orbit is the Akatsuki Spacecraft, operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Managing equipment onto Venus to explore the planet is difficult because of the planet’s conditions. Unlike Mercury and Mars’ have visible surfaces, Venus has a cloudy, opaque atmosphere. Conventional machines like rovers cannot last long on Venus because its temperature is far too hot.
Venus is a planet very similar to Earth, but as the Sun has aged, Venus has turned into what it is now - uninhabitable. And with an ever warming Sun, what happened to Venus could be a look into our own planet’s fate.
[Sources: Space.com; NASA.gov]