It's our nearest neighbor and a near twin to Earth in size and composition. But, compared to the rest of the terrestrial worlds, we know little about Venus. What makes the markings in its clouds? How did its history diverge from Earth's to lead to its hellish climate? Why does it have so many volcanoes? Are any of those volcanoes active today? What is its surface made of? Current missions like Venus Express and Akatsuki aim to understand its atmosphere, but no one is currently planning to venture beneath its clouds to explore its surface.
Recent Blog Articles About Venus
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/23 12:12 CDT
Pioneer Venus discovered a stable "dipole" near Venus' north pole, and Venus Express found the same thing near Venus' south pole. Except now Venus Express has found it's not as stable as once thought.
Venus Express, currently the only spacecraft orbiting our nearest planetary neighbor, will soon meet a fiery end in Venus' atmosphere. But its work isn't over yet. ESA will maneuver Venus Express to dip into the uppermost Venus atmosphere and study how the spacecraft responds to atmospheric pressure, giving ESA valuable experience in aerobraking.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/05 12:02 CST
There are two intriguing possibilities being discussed in the Japanese media for what to do with Akatsuki, a space probe in orbit near Venus with a fully functional, highly capable suite of cameras but a damaged main engine.
A rare astronomical event occurs June 5/6. Find out why you should care and how to observe it.
Our own Dr. Bruce Betts is once again teaching his Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy college course online. Come join him.
Venera 9 and 10 landed on Venus in 1975 and sent back the first images of the planet's surface. Now, Ted Stryk brings new life to these images to show us what it would be like to stand on the Venusian surface.
The upcoming rare transit of Venus is one step in a long dance among Earth, Venus and the Sun. Transits of Venus follow a peculiar pattern—two transits 8 years apart, then 105.5 years with no transits, then two transits 8 years apart, then 121.5 years with no transits, for a total cycle of 243 years—and thereby hangs a tale.
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.