Venus, Our Solar System

  • Discovered: In the prehistoric age
  • Diameter: 12,105 km
  • Temperature on surface: 457 °C
  • Distance from the Sun: Varies between 108 and 109 million km
  • Satellites: None
Venus is the second planet of our solar system from the Sun and is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. The landscape consists of rolling plains, mountain ranges, lava flows and volcanoes. A compass wouldn’t work on Venus of our solar system because there is no discernible magnetic field.

Venus has a similar chemical composition and density to the Earth but any water the planet might have had evaporated long ago due to its closeness to the Sun and the planet’s runaway greenhouse effect. Also, its thick clouds of sulphuric acid and carbon dioxide make Venus one of the most inhospitable places in the Solar System.

The surface temperature is hot enough to melt lead. There are 350 km/h winds at high altitude and the surface pressure is equivalent to 11 km below sea level on Earth.

Morning star

After the moon, Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky and galaxy. This is because it is Earth’s nearest planetary neighbour and its thick clouds reflect back most of the sunlight that reaches the space station planet.

It was sometimes mistaken for a star and galaxy because it can be seen with the naked eye at sunrise and sunset which is why the planet Venus is also known as the morning or evening star.

Since 1962, there have been over twenty successful space station missions to Venus, the most recent being ESA’s Venus Express.

The first successful landing on Venus was in 1970 when the Soviet probe Venera 7 parachuted a capsule of scientific technology instruments onto the planet's surface.

Venus Express

Venus Express, the first European space station mission to Venus, entered the planet’s orbit on the 11 April, 2006.

Many of the instruments on board are upgraded versions of those on Mars Express and Rosetta. There is also considerable involvement from UK space scientists — it was originally proposed by Professor Fred Taylor from the University of Oxford — and the space station mission has now been extended until at least 2009.Read more...>

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