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Venus: Overview
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Color image showing Venus topography
Magellan spacecraft radar data enabled scientists to penetrate Venus' thick clouds and create simulated views of the surface.

Venus is a dim world of intense heat and volcanic activity. Similar in structure and size to Earth, Venus' thick, toxic atmosphere traps heat in a runaway 'greenhouse effect.' The scorched world has temperatures hot enough to melt lead. Glimpses below the clouds reveal volcanoes and deformed mountains. Venus spins slowly in the opposite direction of most planets.

10 Need-to-Know Things About Venus:

  1. Venus is only a little smaller than Earth.
  2. Venus is the second closest planet to the sun at a distance of about 108 million km (67 million miles) or 0.72 AU.
    Color illustration of spacecraft orbiting Venus.
    Magellan: Mapping Venus
  3. One day on Venus lasts as long as 243 Earth days (the time it takes for Venus to rotate or spin once). Venus makes a complete orbit around the sun (a year in Venusian time) in 225 Earth days.
  4. Venus is a rocky planet, also known as a terrestrial planet. Venus' solid surface is a cratered and volcanic landscape.
  5. Venus' thick and toxic atmosphere is made up mostly of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2), with clouds of sulfuric acid (H2SO4) droplets.
  6. Venus has no moons.
  7. There are no rings around Venus.
  8. More than 40 spacecraft have explored Venus. The Magellan mission in the early 1990s mapped 98 percent of the planet's surface.
  9. No evidence for life has been found on Venus. The planet's extreme high temperatures of almost 480 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit) make it seem an unlikely place for for life as we know it.
  10. Venus spins backwards (retrograde rotation) when compared to the other planets. This means that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east on Venus.

Read More About Venus Blue arrow

Homework? We can help. Link to Venus homework helper.
Just the Facts
Metric | English | Scientific Notation
Orbit Size (semi-major axis):  1.0820948 x 108 km
Mean Radius:  6.0518 x 103 km
Volume:  9.28415 x 1011 km3
Mass:  4.8673 x 1024 kg
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Last Updated: 8 May 2014