The Soviet venera 1 spacecraft

The Soviet’s Obsession With Venus

Christian Cantrell
Apr 13, 2013 · 2 min read

Since information didn’t exactly flow freely between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it isn’t widely known that the Soviets took quite an interest in Venus in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. In fact, thirteen Venera probes (Venera is the Russian name for Venus) successful transmitted data from the atmosphere of Venus, and ten probes successfully landed on the planet’s surface. It’s easy to be somewhat dismissive of the Venera missions today until you consider how long ago it was that the Soviets were pulling this kind of thing off, and the fact that the pressure on the Venusian surface is 92 times that of Earth’s. (The longest any of the probes survived was two hours with the earliest spacecrafts being destroyed in only about 23 minutes.)

The Soviets accomplished several firsts with the Venera missions including:

  • The first man-made device to enter the atmosphere of another planet.
  • The first soft landing on another planet.
  • The first probes to return images, radar maps, and even a sound recording from another planet.

The pin in the picture above was created by the Soviet Union in 1961 to commemorate the initial Venera 1 mission. Not only does it represent an incredible milestone in Russian history, but it is also an important symbol of scientific achievement for all of humanity.

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