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BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter compare notes at Venus

The convergence of two spacecraft at Venus in August 2021 has given a unique insight into how the planet is able to retain its thick atmosphere without the protection of a global magnetic field.

A mutant plant with a counting disability

The newly discovered dyscalculia mutant of the Venus flytrap has lost its ability to count electrical impulses. Würzburg researchers reveal the cause of the defect.

Venus: The trouble with sending people there

Venus, often called Earth's "evil twin" planet, formed closer to the sun and has since evolved quite differently from our own planet. It has a "runaway" greenhouse effect (meaning heat is completely trapped), a thick carbon-dioxide-rich ...

Balloon fleet senses earthquakes from stratosphere

A new study in AGU's Geophysical Research Letters reports on the first detection of a large, distant earthquake in a network of balloon-bound pressure sensors in the stratosphere. The technique could one day be applied on ...

No signs (yet) of life on Venus

The unusual behavior of sulfur in Venus' atmosphere cannot be explained by an "aerial" form of extra-terrestrial life, according to a new study.

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Venus

Venus is the second-closest planet to the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6. Because Venus is an inferior planet from Earth, it never appears to venture far from the Sun: its elongation reaches a maximum of 47.8°. Venus reaches its maximum brightness shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset, for which reason it is often called the Morning Star or the Evening Star.

Classified as a terrestrial planet, it is sometimes called Earth's "sister planet" because they are similar in size, gravity, and bulk composition. Venus is covered with an opaque layer of highly reflective clouds of sulfuric acid, preventing its surface from being seen from space in visible light. Venus has the densest atmosphere of all the terrestrial planets, consisting mostly of carbon dioxide, as it has no carbon cycle to lock carbon back into rocks and surface features, nor organic life to absorb it in biomass. A younger Venus is believed to have possessed Earth-like oceans, but these totally evaporated as the temperature rose, leaving a dusty dry desertscape with many slab-like rocks. The water has most likely dissociated, and, because of the lack of a planetary magnetic field, the hydrogen has been swept into interplanetary space by the solar wind. The atmospheric pressure at the planet's surface is 92 times that of the Earth.

Venus' surface was a subject of speculation until some of its secrets were revealed by planetary science in the twentieth century. It was finally mapped in detail by Project Magellan in 1990–91. The ground shows evidence of extensive volcanism, and the sulfur in the atmosphere may indicate that there have been some recent eruptions. However, it is an enigma why no evidence of lava flow accompanies any of the visible caldera. There are a low number of impact craters, demonstrating that the surface is relatively young, approximately half a billion years old. There is no evidence for plate tectonics, possibly because its crust is too strong to subduct without water to make it less viscous. Instead, Venus may lose its internal heat in periodic massive resurfacing events.

The adjective Venusian is commonly used for items related to Venus, though the Latin adjective is the rarely used Venerean; the archaic Cytherean is still occasionally encountered. Venus is the only planet in the Solar System named after a female figure,[a] although three dwarf planets – Ceres, Eris and Haumea – along with hundreds of the first discovered asteroids also have feminine names.

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