Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A Visit to the Love Goddess

Venera 9 (Russian: Венера -9 meaning Venus 9),was a USSR unmanned space mission to Venus. It consisted of an orbiter and a lander. It was launched on June 8, 1975. The orbiter was the first spacecraft to orbit Venus, while the lander was the first to return images from the surface of another planet.

The orbiter consisted of a cylinder with two solar panel wings and a high gain parabolic antenna attached to the curved surface. A bell-shaped unit holding propulsion systems was attached to the bottom of the cylinder, and mounted on top was a 2.4 meter sphere which held the lander.

The orbiter entered Venus orbit on October 20, 1975. Its mission was to act as a communications relay for the lander and to explore cloud layers and atmospheric parameters with several instruments and experiments. It performed 17 survey missions from October 26, 1975 to December 25, 1975.

On October 20, 1975, the lander spacecraft was separated from the orbiter, and landing was made on October 22. Venera 9 landed on a steep  slope covered with boulders.

It was the first spacecraft to return an image from the surface of another planet. The Soviet space program had far more success with Venus landers than Mars landers, possibly because the mechanics of landing on Venus involve fewer steps than Mars due to the much thicker atmosphere.

Venera 9 measured clouds that were 30–40 km thick with bases at 30–35 km altitude. It also measured atmospheric chemicals including hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, bromine, and iodine. Other measurements included surface pressure of about 90 atmospheres, temperature of 485 °C, and surface light levels comparable to those at Earth mid-latitudes on a cloudy summer day. Venera 9 was the first probe to send back black and white television pictures from the Venusian surface showing shadows, no apparent dust in the air, and a variety of 30 to 40 cm rocks which were not eroded. Planned 360-degree panoramic pictures could not be taken because one of two camera lens covers failed to come off, limiting pictures to 180 degrees.

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