Soviet Photographs of Venus (1982)

Venera 13 (left) Venera 14 (right)


NASA has never been able to send a probe to land on Venus because it could not solve the problem of the immense gravity on the planet, which has the potential to ‘crush’ any mechanical device sent from Earth. Even today, NASA is unable to send a probe to Venus. In November, 1981, however, the Soviet Union launched two probes – Venera 13 on the 30th of October, and Venera 14 on the 4th of November – both of which landed successfully on the surface of Venus. ‘Venera’ is written in the Russian language as ‘Венере’, and translates as ‘Venus’. The probes were launched five days apart, and took four months to reach the orbit of venus. Both probes landed on the surface of Venus on the 5th of March 1982, around 950km apart. Each probe carried equipment such as:

Accelerometer, Impact analysis – Bison-M, Thermometers, Barometers – ITD, Spectrometer / Directional Photometer – IOAV-2, Ultraviolet Photometer,Mass spectrometer – MKh-6411, Penetrometer / Soil ohmmeter – PrOP-V, Chemical Redox indicator – Kontrast, 2 colour telephotometer cameras – TFZL-077, Gas chromatograph – Sigma-2, Radio / Microphone / Seismometer – Groza-2, Nephelometer – MNV-78-2, Hydrometer – VM-3R, X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (Aerosol) – BDRA-1V,X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (Soil) – Arakhis-2,Soil Drilling Apparatus – GZU VB-02,Stabilized Oscillator / Doppler Radio, Small solar batteries – MSB

Soviet scientists developed a titanium core for each probe which was designed to retain structural integrity for around 32 minutes after landing, but in reality each probe lasted 57 minutes. This allowed the Soviet computerised photographic equipment onboard to take extraordinary photographs and transmit this data back to Earth. The pressure to get all this exactly right was tremendous, as speed was of the essence. After 57 minutes, even the titanium cores were crushed to pieces and the Soviet Venera 13-14 Landers were no more. As can be seen, Venus has a thick, cloudy and ruddy atmosphere. To date, no other probe has been sent to the surface of Venus. Atmospheric pressure on Venus is 90 times higher than on Earth, and the temperature on its surface is about 460 degrees Celsius. As with all Soviet Space Missions, this was achieved without recourse to corporate sponsorship or the search for monetary profit. This was a scientific mission designed to further human understanding.






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