Venera 3 did not gather information due to a malfunction, but it still made history when it crashed into the planet's surface on this day in 1966. Image Source: NASA.
Today is the 50th anniversary of Venera 3's crash landing on Venus on 1 March 1966. Venera 3 was the first human-made object to make an impact on another planet's surface. The site Russian Space Web gives a great chronology and details of the development of Russian rockets and space programmes from their earliest days.
See my earlier post on Russian space art, here. The 2004 BBC television series, Voyage to the Planets, depicted what a manned mission to Venus would look like (previously mentioned in this post). On 17 November 2015, Ars Technica reported that the Russians and Americans are going to cooperate to explore Venus with landers in the 2020s:
For more information on the planned Venera-D mission, see here, here, here, here and here.After more than a year on ice due to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, NASA and Russia’s Space Research Institute has resumed discussions about a joint exploration mission to Venus, which could include a lander. NASA hasn’t flown a mission dedicated to Venus since its Magellan probe, from 1990 to 1994, which mapped 98 percent of the planet at a resolution of 100 meters or better.So far NASA has only committed to talking with Russia about its Venera-D mission, which could launch in the 2020s. The space agency has agreed to perform a year-long feasibility study and several meetings during the next year. After that time NASA and Russia’s Space Research Institute, or IKI, will decide whether to continue its partnership, according to a report in Spaceflight Now.
Soviet documentary on Venera 4 (1967). Video Source: Youtube.
Soviet spacecraft pennants: Venera 1. Image Source: Mental Landscape.
Soviet spacecraft pennants: Venera 3. Image Source: Mental Landscape.
Soviet spacecraft pennants: Venera 4. Image Source: Mental Landscape.
Soviet spacecraft pennants: Venera missions 5-8. Image Source: Mental Landscape.
Soviet spacecraft pennants: Venera missions 9-14. "Venus heavy landers with cameras and soil analyzers. These missions carried identical pennants, except for years and names. Venera-9(10) 1975, Venera-11(12) 1978, Venera-13(14) 1981. The pentagonal pennant can be seen above, fastened to the landing ring of Venera-13 on the surface of Venus." Image Source: Mental Landscape.
Soviet spacecraft pennants: Venera missions 15 and 16. Image Source: Mental Landscape.
Soviet spacecraft pennants: Venera-Halley Missions (Vega-1 and Vega-2). Image Source: Mental Landscape.
First photos of the surface of Venus from the Venera missions 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16. Video Source: Youtube.
Caption for the above video: "Venera-9 was the first lander to photograph the surface of Venus, on October 20, 1975 Venera-10 landed on October 23, 1975 and returned almost two scans of the terrain. Venera-12 landed on Venus on December 21, 1978, and Venera-11 landed on December 25. All of the color panoramic cameras failed, due to atmospheric pressure. The descent module of Venera-13 landed on Venus on March 1, 1982. Two optical-mechanical cameras repeatedly scanned 180° or 60° through clear and colored filters and at higher resolution than the Venera-9/10 system. Venera-14 arrived four days after Venera-13, and its descent module landed on March 5. It remained in contact with the flyby module for 57 minutes. The twin orbiters, Venera-15 and Venera-16, carried out the first high resolution survey of the surface of Venus, using synthetic aperture radar and radar altimetry. Surveying took place from November 11 1983 to July 10 1984, covering the northern cap of the planet down to about 25° latitude."
Enhanced altimetry image of Quad 4 of stereographic map of the Venusian surface, data gathered by Venera 15 and 16 (1983-1984). Image Source: Mental Landscape.
Altimetry map of Ishtar Terra, one of the two main highland regions, or continents, of Venus (American Magellan mission, 1990). Image Source: Mental Landscape.
The continents of Venus: "Color-coded elevation map of Venus, showing the elevated 'continents' in yellow: Ishtar Terra at the top and Aphrodite Terra just below the equator to the right." Image Source: NASA Ames Reseach Center/U.S Geological Survey/MIT via Wiki.
Discovered in 2007 by ESA's Venus Express Orbiter, at Venus's south pole, there is a double whirlwind vortex in the atmosphere the size of Europe, which scientists recently concluded was full of surprises. The planet also has another pair of inverted anticyclones at its north pole. Image Source: Daily Galaxy.
The surface: 3-D perspective of the Venusian volcano, Maat Mons generated from radar data from NASA’s Magellan mission. Image Source: NASA via Universe Today.
The Pentagram of Venus
Venus has long inspired in astrology, occult, and sci-fi circles, not least because from the perspective of Earth-bound astronomers, its path forms a pentagram in the sky every eight years. Above, the pentagram of Venus, showing earth at the centre, and the sun and Venus as they appear from earth. Image Source: Recursive Process.
If you track the relative positions of Earth and Venus over an 8 year period, this is the resulting pattern. pic.twitter.com/lOoeUtAXH2— SciencePorn (@SciencePorn) May 16, 2015
Image Source: Curt Renz via The Awakening.
Image Source: Deep Highlands.
Venus is a Man's World (broadcast 6 February 1957; based on a 1951 story by William Tenn) was an episode of the American radio show X Minus One; listen to it here. According to SFFAudio, X Minus One is widely considered to have been one of the finest science fiction radio dramas ever produced. Episodes adapted newly-published stories by leading writers, including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Frederik Pohl and Theodore Sturgeon. Listen to all the X Minus One episodes here. Image Source: SFFAudio.
Безмолвная звезда (First Spaceship on Venus) (Directed by: Kurt Maetzig, East Germany/Poland, 1960). Image Source: pinterest.
First Spaceship on Venus (1960; dubbed for English audiences). Video Source: Youtube. The film is in the public domain.
A radar view of Venus taken by the Magellan spacecraft, with some gaps filled in by the Pioneer Venus orbiter (2015). Image Source: NASA/JPL via Universe Today.