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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Soviet Balloon Probes May Have Seen Rain on Venus


This being Earth’s hellish sister planet – where surface pressure is akin to being 900 m underwater and average temperatures are hot enough to melt lead – the shower wasn’t made of friendly water but rather corrosive sulfuric acid. The finding comes from a re-analysis of data taken by the Vega 1 and 2 missions and may represent the first onsite detection of rain ever made outside of Earth.

In 1984, the Soviet Union joined with several European countries to launch the Vega probes, a complex mission that dropped a pair of landers and balloons on Venus and then sent two spacecraft to make close encounters with Halley’s comet in 1986. No other mission has ever deployed balloons on another planet.

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