Black and white image of spacecraft and rocks on surface of Venus.

Venera 13 Lander images of the surface of Venus. The lander touched down at 7.5 S, 303 E, east of Phoebe Regio, on 1 March, 1982. It survived on the surface for 2 hours, 7 minutes. These pictures were taken from its two opposite-facing cameras. The top image is a black and white frame of the color image vg261_262. The bottom frame shows the lander testing arm. The surface is made up of flat, platy rocks and soil. Parts of the lander and semi-circular lens covers can be seen in both images. Image Credit: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Goals: Like previous Soviet Venus missions, Venera 13 and 14 were twin pairs and flyby spacecraft. The flyby craft was designed to relay transmissions from the landers in addition to studying Venus and interplanetary space. The landers carried advanced instruments to study Venus' atmosphere and soil.

Accomplishments: Venera 13's descent craft probed the atmosphere and then transmitted data from the surface for 127 minutes, succeeding in two experiments that had failed on the previous two missions. The lander took 360 degrees panoramic pictures, the first color pictures transmitted from that planet. The series of eight photos showed a landscape of orange-brown rocks and loose soil, with soil being blown onto the lander at a rate suggesting a wind speed of 1 to 2 km/hr. The sky looked orange and the horizon appeared to be only about 100 meters (109 yards) away, possibly due to a mirage. In another first, the lander directly sampled and analyzed the nearby soil. The flyby spacecraft was later used in an engineering test for upcoming Halley's comet missions.

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