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Russians Captured Incredible Photos From The Surface Of Venus Before Lander Melted

Claire Reid

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Russians Captured Incredible Photos From The Surface Of Venus Before Lander Melted

Featured Image Credit: Don P. Mitchell

Russian spacecrafts managed to capture incredible images of the surface of Venus, shortly before the lander succumbed to the intense heat.

Venera 13 was launched in 1981 and took four months to arrive on Venus, eventually landing on 1 March 1982.

Credit: Don P. Mitchell
Credit: Don P. Mitchell

The lander was designed to last around half an hour and the landing went to plan - a parachute was deployed to ensure it slowly drifted to the surface and once there its onboard camera snapped some shots.

In the end, the lander transmitted data - including these shots and some information about soil - for around two hours.

An article from Science News published on 20 March 1982 read: "The [Venera 13] landing site appears smooth but broken, and topped around the lander itself by abundant debris of various sizes.

"US researchers looking at the photos suggested that the smooth areas might be either solid slabs of rock, or a crust of fine particles cemented together by chemical activity of the atmosphere.

"Such 'fines' could be dust transported by the wind, or perhaps weathered from the underlying bedrock itself by chemical erosion."

In total, Venera 13 sent back a panorama of 14 colour photos and eight black and white.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

The two very yellow-coloured photos seen up at the top of this article have been colourised and enhanced since they were originally taken in the early 80s, AFP reports - they were originally in black and white and didn't seem to show quite as much detail.

Although both the enhanced and non-enhanced photos appear to show the surface of the planet as yellow, scientists say it's not possible to know what colour it was, as the clouds filter out blue light.

The Venera 7 was the first lander to send back images of Venus' surface, all the way back in 1975, but these later shots are more widely shared as they appear to show a greater level of detail.

Five days after sending up Venera 13, the Soviet Union launched Venera 14 - a twin lander, which also managed to reach the surface. It lasted for around 57 minutes.

Venera 15 and Venera 16 were then sent up and orbited the planet together between 1983 and 1984.

Topics: Science, Interesting, Nasa, space

Claire Reid
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