Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tonight's Sky for October 22: Venera 9 Arrives at Venus (1975)

It was on this date in 1975 that the Soviet probe Venera 9 arrived at Venus. While having lost the manned space race, the Russians claimed a major pair of firsts with this mission. First: the orbiter was the first man-made object to orbit Venus and the lander was the first man-made object to return images from the surface of another planet. All told, the lander would operate for 53 minutes and, in addition to pictures, would return valuable data about surface conditions on Venus that were found to be, to say the least, hellish. The orbiter would operate for nearly 2 months, conducting 17 experiments studying the planet's upper atmosphere and acting as a relay for the short-lived lander. 

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