Guide to Magellan Image Interpretation (NASA History Series)

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Its main engine is still offline, but its controllers will attempt to use its small attitude control thrusters to make another orbital insertion attempt on December 7th, The probe would be equipped with a core sampler to drill into the surface and study pristine rock samples not weathered by the harsh surface conditions. The Venera-D spacecraft is a proposed Russian space probe to Venus, which is scheduled to be launched around This mission will conduct remote-sensing observations around the planet and deploy a lander, based on the Venera design, capable of surviving for a long duration on the surface.

Because of its proximity to Earth, and its similarity in size, mass and composition, Venus was once believed to hold life. In fact, the idea of Venus being a tropical world persisted well into the 20th century, until the Venera and Mariner programs demonstrated the absolute hellish conditions that actually exist on the planet. Nevertheless, it is believed that Venus may once have been much like Earth, with a similar atmosphere and warm, flowing water on its surface. However, owing to the runaway greenhouse effect and the lack of a magnetic field, this water disappeared many billions of years ago.

Still, there are those who believed that Venus could one day support human colonies. Currently, the atmospheric pressure near to the ground is far too extreme for settlements to be built on the surface. In addition, proposals have been made suggesting the Venus should be terraformed.

These have ranged from installing a huge space-shade to combat the greenhouse effect, to crashing comets into the surface to blow the atmosphere off. Other ideas involve converting the atmosphere using calcium and magnesium to sequester the carbon away. From being a central to our mythology and the first star we saw in the morning and the last one we saw at night , Venus has since gone on to become a subject of fascination for astronomers and a possible prospect for off-world real estate. We have written many interesting articles about Venus here at Universe Today.

But once astronomers looked at it seriously in the past half-century or so, a lot of contrasts emerged. The biggest one — Venus is actually a hothouse planet with a runaway greenhouse effect, making it inhospitable to life as we know it. Here are some more interesting facts about Venus. The pressure there is so great that spacecraft need shielding to survive. The atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide with bits of sulfuric acid, NASA says, which is deadly to humans.

A very preliminary NASA study suggests that at some point, we could deploy airships for humans to explore Venus.


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And the backers suggest it may be more efficient to go to Venus than to Mars, with one large reason being that Venus is closer to Earth. Venus is so bright it is sometimes mistaken for a UFO: The planet is completely socked in by cloud, which makes it extremely reflective to observers looking at the sky on Earth. Its brightness is between So that remarkable appearance can confuse people not familiar with Venus in the sky, leading to reports of airplanes or UFOs.

The probe orbited the planet and got a complete surface picture using radar. Venus has volcanoes and a fresh face: Venus has fresh lava flows on its surface , which implies that volcanoes erupted anywhere from the past few hundred years to the past three million years. What this means is there are few impact craters on the surface, likely because the lava flowed over them and filled them in. While scientists believe the volcanoes are responsible, the larger question is how frequently this occurs.

Venus has a bizarre rotation: Venus not only rotates backwards compared to the other planets, but it rotates very slowly. In fact, a day on Venus days lasts longer than it takes the planet to orbit around the Sun days. Even more strangely, the rotation appears to be slowing down ; Venus is turning 6. Venus has no moons or rings: The two planets closest to the Sun have no rings or moons, which puts Venus in the company of only one other world: Mercury.

Every other planet in the Solar System has one or the other, or in many cases both! Venus Express did indeed survive the encounter before it ran out of gas , with the goal of providing more information about how the atmosphere looks at high altitudes. This could help with landings in the future. As you can see, Venus is an interesting, mysterious, and extremely hostile world.

Composition and Surface Features:

With such a corrosive atmosphere, such incredible heat, a volcanically-scarred surface, and thick clouds of toxic gas, one would have to be crazy to want to live there. And yet, there are some who believe Venus could be terraformed for human use, or at the very least explored using airships , in the coming generations. Initially, they draw their fair share of research and attention.

But eventually, the dreamers and adventurers come. For starters, our two planets are close in mass, with Venus weighing in at 4. In terms of size, the planets are almost identical, with Venus measuring 12, km in diameter and Earth 12, km. In terms of density and gravity, the two are neck and neck — with Venus boasting Venus also has a thick atmosphere, much like our own, and it is believed that both planets share a common origin, forming at the same time out of a condensing clouds of dust particles around 4. However, for all the characteristics these two planets have in common, average temperature is not one of them.

Whereas the Earth has an average surface temperature of 14 degrees Celsius, the average temperature of Venus is degrees Celsius. That is roughly degrees hotter than the hottest deserts on our planet. The combination of these gases in high concentrations causes a catastrophic greenhouse effect that traps incident sunlight and prevents it from radiating into space.

This results in an estimated surface temperature boost of K Atmospheric pressure also plays a role, being 91 times that of what it is here on Earth; and clouds of toxic vapor constantly rain sulfuric acid on the surface. In addition, the surface temperature on Venus does not vary like it does here on Earth. On our planet, temperatures vary wildly due to the time of year and even more so based on the location on our planet. The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was On the other end of the spectrum, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was in Vostok, Antarctica at But on Venus, the surface temperature is degrees Celsius, day or night, at the poles or at the equator.

The only respite from the heat on Venus is to be found around 50 km into the atmosphere. These habitats could play an important role in the terraforming of Venus as well, acting as scientific research stations that could either fire off the excess atmosphere off into space, or introduce bacteria or chemicals that could convert all the CO2 and SO2 into a hospitable, breathable atmosphere. This is due to the thick atmosphere, which has made visual observation impossible.

The sulfuric acid is also problematic since clouds composed of it are highly reflective of visible light, which prevents optical observation. Probes have been sent to the surface in the past, but the volatile and corrosive environment means that anything that lands there can only survive for a few hours. The images provided by this and other missions revealed a surface dominated by volcanoes.

Many scientists believe Venus was resurfaced by volcanic activity to million years ago. Lava flows are a testament to this, which appear to have produced channels of hardened magma that extend for hundreds of km in all directions. The mixture of volcanic ash and the sulfuric acid clouds is also known to produce intense lightning and thunder storms.

The temperature of Venus is not the only extreme on the planet. The atmosphere is constantly churned by hurricane force winds reaching kph. Add to that the crushing air pressure and rainstorms of sulfuric acid, and it becomes easy to see why Venus is such a barren, lifeless rock that has been hard to explore.

We have written many articles about Venus for Universe Today. And here is an article about the many interesting pictures taken of Venus over the past few decades. Listen here, Episode Venus. Reference: NASA. Skip to content. Size comparison of Venus and Earth. Composition and Surface Features: Little direct information is available on the internal structure of Venus. The internal structure of Venus — the crust outer layer , the mantle middle layer and the core yellow inner layer.

Atmosphere and Climate: Surface observations of Venus have been difficult in the past, due to its extremely dense atmosphere, which is composed primarily of carbon dioxide with a small amount of nitrogen. Historical Observations: Although ancients peoples knew about Venus, some of the cultures thought it was two separate celestial objects — the evening star and the morning star. Venus approaches the Sun in a transit visible from Earth.

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Modern Observations: By the early 17th century, the transit of Venus was observed by English astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks on December 4th, , from his home. Exploration of Venus: The first attempts to explore Venus were mounted by the Soviets in the s through the Venera Program. The Mariner 1 and 2 spacecrafts made their way to Venus. Mariner 2 was the first successful Venus Flyby on. The Mariner 10 spacecraft. Images of Venusian surface taken by the Venera 10 lander on October 25th, The first color pictures taken of the surface of Venus by the Venera space probe. Bloomquist and Winifred C.

March PRC R Prepared under Contract No. Contract No. NAS Revised, March April 9, Kliore and Indu R. Patel, Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Revised August 30, December 8, Craig, Lawrence Colin and Richard O. December 23, Edited by Lawrence Colin. August Proceedings of a workshop held at Moffett Field, California September , May 20, By Thomas M. Lough, John Mulkern and Bernard Roseman, [n. Voyager to Jupiter and Saturn. No online items. Guide to the Robert W. Creator: Jackson, Robert W.

Robert William. The materials were collected by Robert W. Jackson, who served as Recovery Controller for the Biosatellite program and as Flight Director for the Pioneer spacecraft. Copyright does not apply to United States government records. For non-governmental material, researcher must contact origical creator. Moffett Field, California. Jackson Collection, , [Container number] : [Folder number].

Jackson performed recovery planning for the Earth Orbiting Biosatellite flights in the late s and served as Recovery Controller during the flights.

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During the s, he served as Flight Director for the Pioneer Venus Orbiter spacecraft, including the periods when the spacecraft was used as a remote observatory for Comets. He also simultaneously served as Flight Director for the six older Interplanetary Pioneer spacecraft. The Robert W.

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Jackson Collection 1. The first series, Biosatellite, contains clippings and publications about the Biosatellite Project. The three Biosatellites were earth-orbiting biological satellites that were designed to return their experiments to the ground for analysis at the conclusion of their flights.

Apollo/Moon Landing, Vogt, 4-6 (Missions in Space)

Their combined mission was to study the effects on living organisms of weightlessness, radiation, weightlessness combined with radiation, and the absences of the effects of the earth's rotation, such as the removal of the normal 24 hours day-night cycle. The second series, Magellan, contains primarily journal articles about the Magellan Mission. Magellan was launched in , arrived at Venus in and went into orbit around the planet in , gathering radar images of its surface, data on its gravity field, and gathering data on its geologic structure. The mission was terminated in October when the Magellan spacecraft was sent into the atmosphere of Venus where it was destroyed, marking the first time an operating planetary spacecraft was intentionally crashed.

The third series, Pioneer, represents the majority of the collection. It contains clippings, images, journal issues, publications and reports on the Pioneer Missions The Pioneer Missions were designed to study the sun's environment and the planets in the solar system, performing first of their kind explorations of the sun, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. The most significant of these spacecraft were Pioneer 10 and 11, the first spacecraft to explore Jupiter and Saturn, and the first spacecraft to exit the solar system. Pioneer 10's mission ended in and the spacecraft has continued to explore the solar system when its last contact with Earth was made in Pioneer 11's mission ended in when its instruments had no power to make scientific observations.

The fourth and final series in the collection, Voyager, contains images and a publication about the Voyager Mission. The Voyager Interstellar Mission was a two-spacecraft mission to the outer planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune that was launched in Voyager 2's mission is now known as Voyager Interstellar Mission as it heads out of the solar system at a rate of about million miles a year.

Biosatellite, Physical Description: 7 folders. The first subseries, Biosatellite Project, contains two publications that introduce the project and report on the Biosatellite project in its entirety. Biosatellite Project. NASA Facts. II, No. Biosatellite II.


  • Welcome to the NASA Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center (PRPDC).
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  • Biosatellite III. Clippings, undated. Magellan, Physical Description: 3 folders. This series primarily contains journal articles related to the Magellan Mission to Venus. Pioneer, Physical Description: 77 folders 3 boxes. This series represents the bulk of the collection. Many images in this subseries are official NASA lithographs that include written descriptions in the back of the photos with the statement "This lithograph is a Government publication …" and others are JPL photographs.