National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Venus: Kids
   Facts & Figures   Education   Missions   News   FAQ 
   Overview   Read More   Moons   Gallery 
Venus - The Hottest Planet

See more kids' drawings...

Venus is the second planet from our Sun. It is Earth's closest neighbor ? the second brightest object in our night sky. Only the moon is brighter.

Venus' dazzling beauty at night explains its name. It is named for the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Even though it is so close to Earth, Venus is very mysterious. The surface is hidden beneath hot, poisonous air made up mostly of carbon dioxide. Scientists must use radar to 'see' through Venus' clouds. Venus has no moon and no rings.

Hot, confusing and pretty much yucky. To get to the surface of Venus, you would have to pass through clouds of sulfuric acid, hurricane-force winds and lightning.

On the ground, it would look like a very hazy, overcast day on Earth. Instead of cooling things down, the clouds on Venus reflect sunlight and trap heat ? a lot like a greenhouse keeps plants warm. On Venus the 'greenhouse effect' is out of control. It can get up to almost 900?F (482?C). It gets hotter than Mercury. The air is thick and poisonous.

Venus' atmosphere is so heavy it would feel like you were deep in the ocean. Remember how your head feels squeezed at the bottom of a swimming pool? That is pressure. On Venus, the pressure is so strong it would crush you. Even tough metal spacecraft were smashed after a few hours on the surface of Venus.

This is a strange planet. Venus spins backwards so the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east. And because the planet rotates so sluggishly, a day on Venus is longer than it takes to go around the Sun. Imagine if we switched to Venusian clocks on Earth. A school day would last four months. Ugh.

Almost all the surface features of Venus are named for amazing Earth women. A volcanic crater is named for Sacajawea, the Native American who guided Lewis and Clark's exploration. A deep canyon is named for Diana, Roman goddess of the hunt.

Challenge Graphic
VENUS CHALLENGE Both Earth and Venus experience a 'greenhouse effect' that keeps things warm. But on Venus it is too hot. What can be done on Earth to keep our home from heating up too much?

Missions to Venus
Featured Mission: Magellan
In the early 1990s, Magellan used powerful radar to penetrate the thick cloud layer and send back information that was used to map 98% of the planet.
More Missions to Venus
Past Missions
Go Figure!
Average temperature on the surface of Venus. About 457?C.
Minutes Russia's Venera 7 probe operated on Venus in 1970 - the first manmade object to send data from the surface of another planet.
Number of Venusian surface features named for a man. The rest are named for famous women from world cultures.
Earth days it takes for Venus to orbit the sun. A Venusian year.
Number of Earth days it takes for Venus to rotate on its axis. A day on Venus is longer than its year!
Average distance (in miles) from the sun. About 108 million km.
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 8 May 2014