Shop Windows to the Universe

The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.

Missions to Venus

Mission Country Launch Date Arrival Date Type Encounter Characteristics

Venera 1 USSR February 12, 1961 ---- Flyby Now in solar orbit
Mariner 2 USA August 27, 1962 December 14, 1962 Flyby Closest approach: 34,833 km
Zond 1 USSR April 2, 1964 ---- Probe Now in solar orbit
Venera 2 USSR November 12, 1965 ---- Flyby Communications failed just before arrival.
Now in solar orbit.
Venera 3 USSR November 16, 1965 ---- Atmospheric Probe Communications failed just before atmosphere entry.
Crashed on Venus
Venera 4 USSR June 12, 1967 October 18, 1967 Atmospheric Probe First probe to be placed directly in the atmosphere and to return atmospheric data.
It was crushed by the pressure on Venus before it reached the surface.
Mariner 5 USA June 14, 1967 October 19, 1967 Flyby Closest approach: 3900 km
Venera 5 USSR January 5, 1969 May 16, 1969 Atmospheric Probe Burn-up
Venera 6 USSR January 10, 1969 May 17, 1969 Atmospheric Probe Returned data down to within 11 km of the surface before being crushed by the pressure.
Venera 7 USSR August 17, 1970 December 15, 1970 Lander First successful landing of a spacecraft on another planet.
Returned 23 minutes of data.
Venera 8 USSR March 27, 1972 July 22, 1972 Lander Returned data for 50 minutes
Mariner 10 USA November 3, 1973 February 5, 1974 Flyby Dual planet mission to Venus and Mercury.
Closest approach: 5700 km
Images of cloud top
Venera 9 USSR June 8, 1975 October 22, 1975 Orbiter Periapsis: 1560 km
Apoapsis: 112,200 km
Period: 48 hours, 18 min
Inclination: 34* 10'
Photographed clouds and looked at the upper atmosphere.
Lander Transmitted first black and white pictures of the planet's surface
Venera 10 USSR June 14, 1975 October 25, 1975 Orbiter Periapsis: 1620 km
Apoapsis: 113,900 km
Period: 49 hours, 23 min
Inclination: 29* 30'
Photographed clouds and looked at the upper atmosphere
Lander Transmitted black and white photographs of the terrain.
Pioneer Venus 1 (Pioneer 12) USA May 20, 1978 December 4, 1978 Orbiter Periapsis: 200 km
Apoapsis: 66,000 km
Period: 24 hours
Inclination: 29* 30'
Operated until 1992 when contact was lost.
First spacecraft to use radar in mapping the planet's surface.
Pioneer Venus 2 (Pioneer 13) USA August 8, 1978 December 9, 1978 Atmospheric Probe 4 probes parachuted through the atmosphere.
Venera 11 USSR September 9, 1978 December 25, 1978 Flyby Closest approach: 25,000 km
Lander Returned data for 95 minutes.
Imaging systems failed.
Venera 12 USSR September 14, 1978 December 21, 1978 Flyby Closest approach: 25,000 km
Lander Returned data for 110 minutes.
Electrical discharges were recorded.
Venera 13 USSR October 30, 1981 March 1, 1982 Flyby
Lander First color panoramic views of the planet's surface.
Conducted soil analysis.
Venera 14 USSR November 4, 1981 March 5, 1982 Flyby
Entry probe Returned both black & white and color panoramic views of the planet's surface.
Conducted soil analysis.
Venera 15 USSR June 2, 1983 October 10, 1983 Orbiter Radar imaging
Venera 16 USSR June 7, 1983 October 14, 1983 Orbiter Radar imaging
Vega 1 USSR December 15, 1984 June 11, 1985 Balloon/Lander Vega 1 dropped off a Venera style lander and a balloon.
The lander's soil experiment failed.
The balloon floated for about 48 hours.
Now in solar orbit.
Vega 2 USSR December 21, 1984 June 15, 1985 Balloon/Lander Vega 2 dropped off a Venera style lander and a balloon.
The lander conducted soil experiments.
The balloon floated for about 48 hours.
Now in solar orbit.
Galileo USA & Europe October 18, 1989 February 10, 1990 Flyby Images and near-infrared data on clouds.
Used Venus to pick up speed on its way to Jupiter.
Magellan USA May 4, 1989 August 10, 1990 Orbiter Mapped Venus using synthetic aperture radar.
The imaging system produced images at 300 meters resolution.

An Overview of Space Exploration

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

Windows to the Universe Community



You might also be interested in:

An Overview of the Interior and Surface of Venus

Venus is the second planet from the Sun, and is Earth's neighbor in the solar system. Venus is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, and sometimes looks like a bright star in the...more

History of Venus Transits

Transits of Venus are extremely rare astronomical phenomena. They occur in pairs, separated by eight years, with more than a century elapsing between successive pairs of transits. There will be two Venus...more

Transits of Venus

The planet Venus periodically passes directly between Earth and the Sun. This event, which is somewhat similar to a solar eclipse, is called a transit of Venus. Viewed from Earth, Venus and Mercury are...more

The Poles of Venus

Would you expect to find ice caps and snow fields on Venus? Not likely! Venus is the hottest planet in our Solar System, and those high temperatures extend right on up to the poles. Though there aren't...more

The Polar Atmosphere of Venus

Venus has odd, swirling vortices in its atmosphere above each of the planet's poles. These vortex structures were first detected over the North Pole by NASA's Pioneer Venus Orbiter in 1978. The European...more

The Cooling of Venus

A planet goes through cycles of history depending upon how it cools in time. The following may be the history of Venus. Venus formed about 4 Billion Years ago. at the conclusion of forming it continued...more

Venus Tick

This is an example of a volcanic tick. ...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA