A global view of the surface of Venus from Magellan.
Click on image for full size
An Overview of the Interior and Surface of Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, and is Earth's neighbor in the
system. Venus is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun
and the Moon, and sometimes looks like a
star in the morning or evening sky.
We can't see the
surface of the planet
because it has a very thick atmosphere filled with clouds that
strongly reflect sunlight. Observations of Venus in the
cloud features that
relate to characteristics of the planet's atmosphere.
Venus is slightly smaller than Earth, and considering its neighboring
position in the solar system might be expected to be similar to Earth.
We think that the internal structure of
similar to Earth, with a metallic core, rocky mantle, and crust.
The atmosphere of Venus produces
hostile conditions at the
planet's surface, where temperatures can reach more than 460C (900F),
atmospheric pressure is 90 times that at the Earth's surface, and
clouds filled with sulfuric acid surround
Nonetheless, space missions
sent to Venus have managed to land on and photograph the surface while the
spacecraft mapped the surface of the planet from above. These maps reveal a
surface covered with craters, over 1600 major volcanoes, mountains, large highland terrains, and
vast lava plains.
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