Venus is almost the same size as the Earth, but its proximity to the Sun and its massive carbon dioxide atmosphere keep its surface temperature at
465 °C (870 °F) with a surface pressure of almost 100 times Earth's.

False Color Image of Venus from Galileo

High pass filtered color image of Venus from 2.7 million km, taken from Galileo
Credit: (NASA/JPL)

The planet is dominated by rolling volcanic plains with a couple of elevated plateaus (Aphrodite Terra, Ishtae Terra). Its bright sulfurous clouds make Venus is by far the brightest planet as seen from Earth.

Perspective view of pancake domes in Alpha Regio

3-D computer generated perspective view of pancake volcanoes on the eastern edge of Alpha Regio,Venus. This image was created by superimposing Magellan radar images on Venus topography, and colored based on images from the Venera 13 and 14 landers.
Credit: (NASA/JPL)

The surface of Venus from the Venera 9 Lander

Venera 9 Lander image of the surface of Venus at about 32 S, 291 E. The Lander touched down at 5:13 UT with the sun near zenith on 22 October 1975 and operated for 53 minutes, allowing return of this single image. The white object at the bottom of the image is part of the lander. The distortion is caused by the Venera imaging system. Angular and partly weathered rocks, about 30 to 40 cm across, dominate the landscape, many partly buried in soil. The horizon is visible in the upper left and right corners.
Credit: (Image posted with permission, copyright 2003 Don P. Mitchell. All rights reserved.)

Fun Facts

  • Venus rotates backwards with respect to the other planets

  • A Venus transit, in which Venus passes in front of the Sun as seen from Earth, will occur on June 6, 2012 and will not occur again for 105 years.

  • Due to the high temperatures and pressures, no lander or probe has ever survived much over an hour in the Venus environment.


Mariner 2: Flyby (1962)

Venera 4: Probe (1967)

Mariner 5: Flyby (1967)

Venera 5: Probe (1969)

Venera 6: Probe (1969)

Venera 7: Lander (1970)

Venera 8: Probe (1972)

Venera 9: Orbiter and Lander (1975)

Venera 10: Orbiter and Lander (1975)

Pioneer Venus: Orbiter and Probes (1978-1992)

Venera 11: Lander (1978)

Venera 12: Lander (1978)

Venera 13: Lander (1981)

Venera 14: Lander (1981)

Venera 15: Orbiter (1983-1984)

Venera 16: Orbiter (1983-1984)

Vega 1: Lander and Balloon (1984)

Vega 2: Lander and Balloon (1984)

Magellan: Orbiter (1989-1994)

Venus Express: Orbiter (2005- )

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