February 28, 2011 - Reach Out and Touch a Planet
Reach Out and Touch a Planet Forty-five years ago this week, the Soviet Venera 3 spacecraft crashed into Venus, making it the first human-made object to impact another planet. Though only a partial success, Venera 3 paved the way for Venera 4, which transmitted data for ninety-four minutes during its descent through the hellish atmosphere of Venus. Veneras 7 through 14 landed on Venus between 1970 and 1981, several of them returning pictures from the surface. The American Magellan spacecraft began orbiting Venus in 1990, mapping its surface with a radar imager that penetrated the planet’s thick cloud cover. This global map of Venus based on Magellan data is centered on the eastern hemisphere. Venera 3’s approximate impact site is on the left side of the lower third of the image.
Image credit: NASA / JPL / USGS
February 28 - March 6, 2011
Holidays - Sky Events - Space History
Venus 1.6° south of Moon
New Moon 3:46 PM ET
Moon at apogee