Goals: Venera 9 was the first of a new, heavier generation Soviet spacecraft. The mission called for an orbiter and a lander. The orbiter was to act as a communications relay and study Venus from above while the lander descended via parachute to study the surface.
Accomplishments: Venera 9 logged several firsts. It was the first spacecraft to orbit Venus and the first mission to transmit photographs from the surface of another world. The orbiter fulfilled its communications mission while photographing the planet's atmosphere in UV light and conducting other investigations. The lander transmitted data from Venus' surface for 53 minutes, including taking a 180° panorama of the rocky Venusian surface. Illumination at the surface was said to be as bright as Moscow on a cloudy day in June. Gamma ray measurements indicated that the probe landed on a basaltic surface. Temperature at the surface was found to be 460°C (860°F); atmospheric pressure was 90 times that of Earth.