The state corporation Roscosmos has published declassified documents on the project of the automatic station Venera-8, which was supposed to explore the second planet of the solar system. Among the materials you can find information about the preparation and conduct of the mission.

Image: Roscosmos

The Venera-8 station was not much different from its predecessor Venera-7, and the main changes in the design of the apparatus affected the descent module. For example, a thinner wall of the instrument compartment was made for it, a shock-absorbing device was installed, and the radio communication system was finalized.

The mission was launched on March 27, 1972 at 07:15:06 Moscow time from the Baikonur cosmodrome using the Molniya-M launch vehicle. The device reached the planet on July 22 of the same year, and at 12:28:40 Moscow time landed on the illuminated side of Venus.

Scheme of the spacecraft on the surface of Venus. Image: Roscosmos

Then the station began transmitting information from the planet, the communication session lasted 50 minutes 11 seconds. During this time, the Soviet apparatus sent an array of data about Venus to Earth:

  • the illumination of the planet at the touchdown point was 350 ± 150 lux — this is comparable to an ordinary cloudy day;
  • analysis of the atmosphere showed that photography is possible on Venus;
  • the surface temperature was 470 ± 8 °C, and the pressure was 90 ± 1.5 atmospheres;
  • during the descent, the apparatus recorded the content of ammonia with a concentration of 0.01-0.1%;
  • at altitudes of 50 and 0–11 km, the wind speed was 50–60 and 0–2 m/s, respectively;
  • the surface layer of the planet in the area of ​​the landing site of the apparatus was quite loose with a soil density of 1.4 g/cm3, and the soil itself resembled terrestrial granite rocks.
The first photos from Venus taken by the Soviet spacecraft as part of the Venera-9 mission in 1975

The Venera 8 mission was considered a complete success. Thanks to her, subsequent flights of Soviet spacecraft managed to collect much more information about the planet, as well as to take the first ever pictures from the surface of Venus (frames above).

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