Exploration of Venus May Provide Critical Aid in Combatting Climate Change on Earth
Photo Credit: Roscosmos
Written by: Sam Orlando
In the midst of the Cold War, the Soviet Union made history by successfully landing a probe on the inhospitable surface of Venus. The Venera 7 lander, launched on August 17, 1970, endured extreme temperatures and crushing atmospheric pressure to transmit data back to Earth for 23 minutes before succumbing to the hostile environment.
The technological feat of landing a probe on Venus was no small accomplishment. The planet's thick atmosphere, composed primarily of carbon dioxide, creates a runaway greenhouse effect that results in surface temperatures hot enough to melt lead. The Venera 7 lander was equipped with a heat shield and a parachute system that allowed it to survive the descent through the Venusian atmosphere and land on the planet's surface.
Despite the limited amount of time that the probe was able to transmit data back to Earth, the information it provided was groundbreaking. Scientists were able to confirm the extreme conditions on the surface of Venus, including temperatures of nearly 900 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures equivalent to being one kilometer underwater on Earth.
The Venera 7 lander also provided insight into the planet's atmospheric composition, which has significant implications for our understanding of global warming. The high concentration of carbon dioxide in Venus's atmosphere is similar to the buildup of greenhouse gases on Earth, which has led to rising temperatures and climate change. By studying the Venusian atmosphere, scientists can gain valuable insights into the dynamics of greenhouse gases and their impact on planetary environments.
The success of the Venera 7 mission paved the way for future explorations of Venus and other planets in our solar system. Over the next two decades, the Soviet Union sent a series of probes to Venus, each one more advanced than the last. The Venera missions provided a wealth of data on Venus and helped to further our understanding of the inner workings of our solar system.
As we continue to grapple with the impact of global warming on our own planet, the lessons learned from the Venera missions remain just as relevant today as they were during the Cold War. The technology developed to land a probe on Venus has also paved the way for advancements in space exploration, leading to new discoveries and a deeper understanding of our place in the universe.