Sunday, February 8, 2015

Venusian Surface Features

Reprocessed perspectives of Venus taken by the Venera 13 probe in 1982 (Images: CCCP).

Venus is the second planet from our Sun and it is sometimes referred to as our "sister planet" due to its similar mass and size. It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, and it shows its elegant charm in many ways. Besides not having a naturally orbiting satellite, Venus has the most circular revolution of any planet, a retrograde (clockwise) rotation, and a day that lasts longer than its own year. Its two main continents: the northern Ishtar Terra and southern Aphrodite Terra, are also both named after the Babylonian and Greek goddesses of love, respectively.

The images above are the first to truly capture a stunning view from on the planet's surface. Venus' geography and climate are radically different from that of Earth. Its exterior is believed to be shrouded in condensed sulfuric acid due to ongoing volcanic activity throughout its windy and craterless plains. Its atmosphere is almost entirely made up of carbon dioxide kept under a pressure that is 92 times greater than ours, with an average surface temperature of 735 K. Despite the harsh weather conditions, a Russian space probe was successfully able to gather this data before its electronics stopped working about two hours after touching the ground.

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