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.