LOOK­ING BACK THE SKY AT NIGHT 10 Jan­uary 1979

Sky at Night Magazine - - BULLETIN -

On 10 Jan­uary 1979 The Sky at Night re­ported on six Amer­i­can and two Rus­sian space­craft that had re­cently reached Venus. Our in­ner neigh­bour in the So­lar Sys­tem is over­whelm­ingly hos­tile, with its dense at­mos­phere, sear­ing hot sur­face and clouds of deadly sul­phuric acid. The Soviet Union had sent a num­ber of Ven­era lan­ders since 1970, which sent back pic­tures of a rock-strewn sur­face be­fore be­ing de­stroyed by the heat and at­mo­spheric pres­sure. NASA had made two suc­cess­ful fly­bys with Mariner 2 in De­cem­ber 1962 and Mariner 10 in Fe­bru­ary 1974. Then, in De­cem­ber 1978 NASA’s Pioneer Venus mis­sion ar­rived, putting a satel­lite into or­bit and fir­ing four probes into the Venu­sian at­mos­phere. The Or­biter mapped Venus un­til crash­ing into the at­mos­phere in 1992. Pa­trick Moore and Dr Garry Hunt dis­cussed the space­crafts’ find­ings and pon­dered fu­ture ex­plo­ration of the planet now dubbed Earth’s evil twin.

Im­ages of Venus taken by Soviet lan­ders Ven­era 9 and 10 in 1975

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