Where is the Venera 1 probe now?

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On that day in 1975, the Russian Venera 9 spacecraft dived through the dense Venusian atmosphere.

The spacecraft opened its parachute and successfully landed on the surface of Venus. The Venera 9 sent the first images ever seen from the surface of an alien planet. It was also the first unmanned spaceship to orbit Venus.

The observation of Venus goes back to ancient times. There the Venus was called "morning star" and "evening star".

Venus is the brightest star in the sky and the second planet from the sun; orbit is approximately 108 million kilometers away. The ancient designation as morning and evening star came from the fact that Venus orbits the sun faster than the earth. Depending on the orientation of the Earth and Venus, Venus is best seen either before sunrise (the morning star) or after sunset (the evening star).

The most significant studies of the planet, prior to the space exploration of the 20th century, were carried out by some great historical science luminaries.

Among them was the 11th century Persian astronomer Avicenna, who found that the planet was closer to the sun than to the earth; Galileo found that Venus had phases like the moon; others, like Lomonosov, conducted studies of the planet's atmosphere. Venus became the primary target of the space race in the 1960s.

The Soviet Venera (which means Venus in Russian) was in use from 1961 to 1984. The first probe, Venera 1, launched in February 1961, but lost contact with Earth after just seven days.

Subsequent probes, including the Venera 9, were, however, very successful. The Venera 9 mission was particularly important because of its surface studies. The Venera 9 landed on a 20 degree incline that was full of boulders. There the spaceship managed to take a 180 degree panorama picture of the stony terrain. This image came back to Earth and was the first image of the surface of a non-Earth planet that was ever seen.

To this day, missions to Venus are carried out.

In total, Russia, the United States and the European Space Agency have sent over twenty spaceships to Venus, which either conducted flyby examinations, orbited Venus or landed on the planet. Of all the planets in space, only Mars has been visited more often than Venus.

Image: Image Courtesy NASA