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Venera with Mars Spirit

Venera with Mars Spirit

Venus (top) Mars (bottom)

Chris Gulker says that "two of my very favorite images are those that were returned by the Russian probes Venera 9 and Venera 10. Both probes returned one image before succumbing to the enormous (relative to Earth) pressure and heat of Venus. Atmospheric pressure on Venus is thought to be 90+ times that of Earth, and the temperature is around 850 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt lead.


On Mars, the pressure and heat trend the other way. Mars atmospheric pressure is a hundredth that of Earth and temperatures range between 225 degrees below zero to 85 degrees in the warmest places. Mars is, from the standpoint of an Earth human, a frozen vacuum, while Venus is a furnace from hell. In Goldilocks terms, Venus is too hot and overpressured, Mars is too cold and underpressured, and Earth is just right.

The almost-30-year-old imagery from Venera has a curious echo in the hazcam photos from Spirit, especially: both show rock-strewn surfaces. Both attempt 180-degree fisheye views: the resonance of the images - Venera returned 994 by 226 pixel images while NASA PR supplies Spirit's hazcam images in 1024-pixel-square format - caught my attention. I knitted the two together, and adjusted the Mars image (bottom), in bright sunlight, to better match the Venus picture (top), seen through the ever-present Venusian cloud cover. Amazing times, great images."


JPL -- Mars Rover mission
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