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Ten Facts about Venus


Venus
Image Credit: NASA

Fact One

Venus and Mercury are the only two planets in the Solar System not to have moons orbiting them.

Fact Two

If you were able to stand on the surface of Venus, it would feel like being 1 kilometre under the sea on Earth, a depth deep enough to sink a submarine. A person or a creature would immediately be crushed by Venus' amazingly strong pressure.

Fact Three

Venus may have such a thick atmosphere because it spins so slowly. In fact, a year on Venus is shorter than its day. It takes the planet longer to turn on its axis than it takes it to orbit the Sun. The slow rotation means that atmosphere does not have a force to spin off into space.

Fact Four

Venus is the only planet in the Solar System to turn clockwise. All other planets turn anti-clockwise. It rotates clockwise on its axis extremely slowly, suggesting that something might have once collided with it to disrupt its regular rotation.

Fact Five

People once believed Venus to be two different stars known as the Morning Star and the Evening Star, because it can be seen in the morning and the evening.

Fact Six

After the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the brightest object in the night-sky from Earth

Fact Seven

The Americans have only ever landed one probe on Venus. This was Pioneer Venus 2, launched on 8th August 1978 which was to probe the planet's atmosphere, not examine its surface. All other landings on Venus were made by the Russians.

Fact Eight

Venus' axis hardly has any tilt at all, unlike Mars and Earth. This means that, if it had a thin atmosphere, the planet would not have seasons.

Fact Nine

There are more volcanoes on Venus than on any other planet in the Solar System, although it is not yet known whether any of these volcanoes are still active.

Fact Ten

Venus may now resemble what Earth will become in millions of years time, when the Sun expands, heats the Earth, turning all of its surface water into a vapour which will trap sunlight and heat in its atmosphere, causing suffocating conditions like those on Venus.



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Venus Statistics Table


NameVenus
Meaning of NameRoman goddess of love and beauty (Greek equivalent is Aphrodite)
Name in Foreign LanguagesVénus (French), Venus (Spanish, German, Latin), Vênus (Portuguese), Venere (Italian), Venera (Russian), Aphrodite (Greek)
Average Distance from the Sun 108,208,930 km / 67,237, 910 miles / 0.723 A.U.
Comparison with Earth: 149,597,890 km / 92,955,820 miles / 1.000 A.U.
Closest Distance to the Sun (Perihelion)107,476,000 km / 66,782,000 miles / 0.718 A.U.
Comparison with Earth: 147,100,000 km / 91,400,000 miles / 0.983 A.U.
Farthest Distance from the Sun (Aphelion) 108,942,000 km / 67,693,000 miles / 0.728 A.U.
Comparison with Earth: 152,100,000 km / 94,500,000 miles / 1.017 A.U.
Diameter across equator12,104 km / 7,521 miles
Comparison with Earth: 12,756 km / 7,926 miles
Diagram showing planet's size compared to the size of Earth Sizes of Venus and Earth compared
Circumference around equator 38,025 km / 23,627 miles
Comparison with Earth: 40,074 km / 24,901 miles
Mass4,868,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Comparison with Earth: 5,973,700,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Time to spin on Axis243 days (in retrograde)
Comparison with Earth: 23 hours, 56 minutes
Time to orbit the Sun224 days, 17 hours
Comparison with Earth: 365 days, 6 hours
Distance planet travels to complete one orbit675,300,000 km / 419,600,000 miles
Comparison with Earth: 924,375,700 km / 574,380,400 miles
Gravity (Earth = 1)0.91
Escape Velocity37,300 km/h / 23,200 mph
Comparison with Earth: 40,248 km/h / 25,009 mph
Minimum Surface Temperature462 °C / 864 °F / 735 K
Comparison with Earth: -88 °c / -126 °F / 185 K
Maximum Surface Temperature462 °C / 864 °F / 735 K 
Comparison with Earth: 58 °c / 136 ° F / 331 K
Weather ConditionsVenus is very hot - the hottest planet in the Solar System - with the temperature staying the same, regardless of the time of year or whether it is day or night. Everyday is dull and hazy. Despite the clouds being full of acid rain, this rain evaporates before reaching the surface. Thunder and lightning is very common on Venus.
Contents of Atmosphere96.5% carbon dioxide (CO2) and 3.5% nitrogen (N2). Other gases are present in very small quantities: 0.015% sulfur dioxide (SO2), 0.007% argon (Ar), 0.002% water (H2O), 0.0017% carbon monoxide (CO), 0.0012% helium (He) and 0.0007% neon (Ne)

Pie chart of Venus' atmospheric composition
Known moonsThere are no known moons orbiting Venus
Past Missions (including nationality and year of launch - failed missions in red) Sputnik 7 (USSR, 1961), Verena 1 (USSR, 1961), Mariner 1 (USA, 1962), Mariner 2 (USA, 1962), Zond 1 (USSR, 1964), Venera 2 (USSR, 1965), Venera 3 (USSR, 1965), Venera 4 (USSR, 1967), Mariner 5 (USA, 1967), Venera 5 (USSR, 1969), Venera 6 (USSR, 1969), Venera 7 (USSR, 1970), Venera 8 (USSR, 1972), Mariner 10 (USA, 1973), Venera 9 (USSR, 1975), Venera 10 (USSR, 1975), Pioneer 12/Pioneer Venus 1 (USA, 1978), Pioneer 13/Pioneer Venus 2 (USA, 1978), Venera 11 (USSR, 1978), Venera 12 (USSR, 1978), Venera 13 (USSR, 1981), Venera 14 (USSR, 1981), Venera 15 (USSR, 1983), Venera 16 (USSR, 1983), Vega 1 (USSR, 1984), Vega 2 (USSR, 1984), Magellan (USA, 1989), MESSENGER (USA, 2004), Venus Express (Europe, 2005), IKAROS (Japan, 2010 - now orbiting the Sun), Shin'en (Japan, 2010)
Present Missions Akatsuki (Japan, 2010)
Future MissionsBepiColumbo (Europe, 2017), Indian Venusian orbiter mission (India, 2017 - 2020), VERITAS (USA, 2021), DAVINCI (USA, 2021), Venera-D (Russia, 2025)



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