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Revitalizing Soviet Image Data From Venus

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the that's-one-hot-goddess-of-love dept.

Space 45

An anonymous reader writes "As everyone looks at Mars, a scientist has produced the best images ever obtained from the surface of a rather different planet - Venus. By using - and reprocessing - data from the Soviet Venera missions he got some really nice gems. To be found at BBC News Online and at mentallandscape.com. Nice images which resemble much that of the current Mars missions can be found here(1) and at here(2). By the way, did you know that Venus was more often targeted by space probes than Mars, including a number of ten (!) successful landers?"

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Venus? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7975446)

What's it all about? Is it good or is it whack?

IN SOVIET RUSSIA... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7975460)

Venus lands you!

It's really cool that he's doing this ... (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#7975505)

... and I'm looking forward to seeing the higher-res pictures that he says will be coming. But honestly, the main reason everyone is focusing on Mars right now is because there really doesn't seem to be that much to find on Venus. We know it's an acidic pressure cooker covered with bare rock; the odds of there ever having been any kind of life there that we could detect seem vanishingly small, and we're not going to be living there any time soon either. Mars seems potentially a lot more promising for both exploration and colonization.

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7975629)

Mars may resemble earth more than Venus in some ways...

But for that reason, I've always been more impressed with landings on Venus than Mars. I'm not sure if that's reasonable, as I don't know much about the engineering of going to Mars or Venus. But it's always seemed odd to me that Venus, which is supposedly more hostile, has all these landers, and Mars, which is supposedly more hospitable, is a "spacecraft graveyard."

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (3, Informative)

sahonen (680948) | more than 10 years ago | (#7975699)

You can use a parachute to land a craft on Venus, which is much easier and less demanding of the hardware than bouncing it to a stop.

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (2, Interesting)

ajax0187 (615355) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976115)

Of course, none of those probes lasted for more than two hours once on the surface. I would think getting a probe ON Venus would be relatively easy (as planetary landings go) since the atmosphere is so thick and would act as a brake of some sort (of course, the winds could cause a lot of problems). It's just getting the thing to work long enough to take detailed soil samples, long term weather readings, etc. That way we could continue to work on the surface, instead of relying on a quick, massive work spurt before the probe got fried.

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 10 years ago | (#7981371)

me too... probably because those damn venera pictures are the only real glimpse if you don't count the radar maps. more mystery == more allure. at least for me ;)

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976019)

Venus can tell us a whole lot about planets though, and we don't really know that much about them, except for ours, and ... well ... we're still learning a *lot* about this one.

70's era technology got there. Imagine what 21st century tech could do, if it were done right?

Venus would be a great place to stash all our radioactive by-products, if only there were a way for us to get it there easier ...

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (2, Funny)

Graelin (309958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976092)

70's era technology got there. Imagine what 21st century tech could do, if it were done right?

Melt faster. :)

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1)

zelphior (668354) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976776)

if you go through all of the trouble of getting radioactive by-products to space, why not just crash them into the sun? We may find some method of breaking down the greenhouse gasses in Venus' atmosphere and creating a more hospitable environment there. If we have all sorts of radioactive junk lying around, we're just going to have to move it again if we ever want to colonize Venus. Now I know that this won't be for probably several centuries, maybe even more, but we need to consider this things when making our plans now. Maybe if we had thought more about disposal of radioactive materials back in the 50's and 60's we wouldn't have the problems with storage that we have now.

just my $0.02

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1)

Descartes (124922) | more than 10 years ago | (#7977415)

We should just ship all the greenhouse gasses on Venus to Mars. There you go, two birds with one stone.

How do we collect the gasses? That's easy, magic.

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 10 years ago | (#7977271)

We managed a lot better record of getting things on to Mars in the '70s, using '70s era tech than we have with late 20th and early 21st century tech.

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1)

Mysteray (713473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994784)

Venus would be a great place to stash all our radioactive by-products, if only there were a way for us to get it there easier ...

If you can get it off the Earth in the first place, it'd be easier to just let it fall into the Sun.

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (2, Informative)

Urkki (668283) | more than 9 years ago | (#8003744)

Or even easier to send it out of the entire solar system!

You see, the thing with space is that things don't just "fall in", any more than Earth does. If you reduce orbital speed, the orbit just becomes an ellipse. You have to kill almost all of the orbital speed before you would collide with Sun, and IIRC that speed change is actually *more* than what is needed for exiting the solar system entirely.

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1)

Graelin (309958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976042)

There doesn't seem to be that much to find on Venus! How about Mars? Let's see... lot's of rocks, red sand and lots of guesses.

Mars may be interesting because it would be the best inner-system planet to colonize but it's not very likely to happen. Look at what happened with the moon. We went there and haven't been back in nearly 30 years. How would a Mars expedition be any different? Well, we probably wouldn't return 5 times.

I don't want to discount Mars. Anytime we land there it's an amazing accomplishment and great kudos to the guys that make it happen. But to say that Venus is less interesting is quite foolish. In fact, due to the environment extremes, I'd say we're more likely to discover something REALLY interesting there.

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1)

jasno (124830) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976762)

I think our chances of finding life are much higher on venus. Between primitive, subterranean archaebacteria like that found on earth, and the possibility of life in the upper atmosphere [slashdot.org] , I think Venus would be a very interesting destination. Unfortunately, Bushie will probably cut funding from all these stupid science missions so he can focus on giving his buddies a way to mine the asteroid belt.

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1)

Kiriwas (627289) | more than 10 years ago | (#7987098)

That'd be fine... ANYTHING that gets us into space cheaper is fine with me. The Science can come second or third as long as it comes!

Re:It's really cool that he's doing this ... (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 10 years ago | (#7984868)

Having seen the life thriving in boiling hot deep-sea vents and geysers, Venus is as good a place to look for life as any other. It's a chemically rich, vibrant place.

Only the fact that it is ultimately fatal to our technology keeps us from making the sort of surface progress on Venus that we are doing on Mars. :-/

Whoops (1)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7975576)

What are the odds of a piece coming off, and having it still be so close? Must have fallen off right at landing.

Pictures like this give me warm feelings inside though. Images from a place so secluded, people can't get there right now. Almost any place on earth I can make my way to, but there, no matter how hard I try, i can't go there.

Re:Whoops (2, Informative)

TheOnlyCoolTim (264997) | more than 10 years ago | (#7975717)

I think those are some sort of protective lens covering that was ejected after the lander landed.

Tim

Re:Whoops (1)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7975998)

*squints*

Okay, yeah, I can see that.

Re:Whoops (4, Informative)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7983519)

One of the venera probes had a "spike" type soil density tester on an arm, which was basically under spring tension and was supposed to flip out from the lander and spear into the soil, to get an idea of how hard the ground was.

So, lens cap pops off, a few photos are taken, spike gets deployed, a few more photos taken to determine the depth the spike penetrated to....
except the spike manages to land in the exact same spot the lens cap is sitting. A rather solid lens cap, by the way.

Apparently there was a lot of cursing in russian at that point :-)

Venus: A ridiculous liberal myth (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7975587)

It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit the sun, showing itself int the early morning hours -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where "Venus" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, "Venus" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, "Venus" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of "Venus" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to Venus", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "Venus" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

Venus was targeted more often because ... (1, Funny)

leoaugust (665240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7975786)

By the way, did you know that Venus was more often targeted by space probes than Mars, including a number of ten (!) successful landers?"

Venus was more often targeted by space probes - because Women are from Venus and Men from Mars.

Re:Venus was targeted more often because ... (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976021)

Women are from Venus and Men from Mars

So that explains why most women are so hot headed and full of hot air? :)

Re:Venus was targeted more often because ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7976196)

So that explains why most women are so hot headed and full of hot air? :)


and why men are cold and distant?.... i think that's backwards.

Re:Venus was targeted more often because ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7976447)

Sounds about right, actually.

Re:Venus was targeted more often because ... (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976212)

No. but it does explain why they're always complaining about being cold...

=Smidge=

Re:Venus was targeted more often because ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7976297)

Women are from Venus and Men from Mars.

And Slashdotters are from Uranus.

lenscap (1)

keot (667523) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976027)

didn't one of the russian venus probes fail dismally because the lensecap melted onto the lense?
getting images of venus from the view of a melted lensecap is quite clever. must have been a different probe...

Re:lenscap (1)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 10 years ago | (#7989614)

If that's true, it's hilarious. They made the lenses out of diamond, and used all sorts of high-temperature materials like tungsten to keep the thing from melting, and then they put a plastic lensecap on it and can't take any pictures.

excellent example (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976136)

... of how data collected long ago can still be of use. and great images, too - especially if youve seen the original poor quality lander pics. (naturally, that would mean youd have to RTFAs, so never mind)

i wonder though, why are we collecting such massive amounts of data with every new mission, when obviously it takes too much time to 1. process it 2. interpret it 3. draw conclusions. how much more interesting data has already been collected, but noone looked at it? (or looked at it the "right" way - seti@home comes to mind)
isnt there much more stuff worth of being looked at with "todays eyes"?

For years, scientists have paid little attention to the pictures

yeah, theyre always busy planning the next missions ;)

Re:excellent example (5, Informative)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976347)

A lot of astronomy data is looked at by its principal investigator (PI) for something specific. Really, data has 5 'lives'.

1) The original proposal by the PI, e.g. 'looking for cornonal emissions from DI Peg, an Algol-type system'. Sort of the pass/fail of the research world.

2) Survey. Someone decides to do a survey study among existing data, e.g. "Light curves from all Algol-type systems".

3) Unexpected. Someone finds a new thing to look for, sometimes due to better theoretical understanding. "Coronal sources should be iron-enhanced, so let's reanalyze DI Peg, specifically looking for iron lines."

4) Data-mining. Searching an archive for a given property. "Looking for all sources with X-ray emission above a given threshold... hey, DI Peg matched!"

5) Grad students. Doing their thesis on a topic, use archival data to support. "Dissertation on coronal systems, using data from DI Peg and others".

and I think now maybe this adds a new category:

6) Improved methods. Older data can be reanalyzed using newer methods to extract additional information. Rare: usually data analysis is limited by signal/noise, not tricky algorithms.

So data is often used beyond its initial acquisition!

(apologies if I've posted this before)

Re:excellent example (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976750)

(apologies if I've posted this before)
you must be new here ;)

thanks for that interesting post. hope it gets modded accordingly...
but i'm just a dreamer...

Re:excellent example (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7977034)

How does 6 differ from 3? Seems like much the same: better theoretical understanding. That one is in what the data should show, and one is in the data stream itself doesn't nessicarly mean much. Indeed you often can't get one without the other. (Dl Peg should show iron lines, but one of the critical iron lines was recorded. The existance of iron could be extrapulated from other lines - obvisouly in the case of iron lines you would expect them to be recorded, but there are some things not tested for that we can extrapulate from how it would effect the tests we did run)

Re:excellent example (1)

aWalrus (239802) | more than 10 years ago | (#7978933)

Number 6 reminds me of what is being done in the United States now in courts, with lawyers demanding evidence be re-analized with DNA detecting methods for cases that were closed. Interesting things have come out of this.

Wow. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7976180)

The engineering requirements [mentallandscape.com] were absolutely insane - 170g on re-entry, jetisoning parachutes - then falling free for 50 miles through the atmosphere to land without a parachute. And when it gets there:

Conditions were 90 atm pressure and 455 C (851 F).

This is also intriguing:

While never deployed, a seismometer and thermopile battery were developed and tested, capable of operating indefinately on the surface of Venus.

I'm amazed that "nothing can last long on the surface of venus" is a myth - there seems to be no technical reason that we couldn't have instruments there permanently. This page also talks of electronics capable of surviving the heat - and that the landers interior was cooled by liquid lithium down to 60 degrees C. Then they lost contact only because the *relay* satelites weren't in a permanent orbit - not because the probes failed.

I'm in awe of the engineering that went into making these probes so robust - and this was before I was even born! NASA needs to think a little more like this if they're not going to have accidents getting to the moon permanently.

Re:Wow. (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 10 years ago | (#7991088)

I agree absolutely. Mars IS boring compared to this. When I saw the story I thought this must be a joke, in fact I didnt know anything had landed on Venus yet.. I thought NASA should head there next.

Amazing is the fact that they landed 10 (!) landers and 4 of them transmitted data back, a better rate than the Euro-American attempts at Mars. Those pictures are truly an enormous feat and I dont know why I never saw those in history books. Mars is a lot more like Earth, but Venus is something very unknown, extremely hot and extremely acidic and talk about atmospheric pressure. And they landed over 30 (!) years ago, before the Intel 4004 processor, and brought back such high res pictures with success.

Soviet scientists must see NASA cheering and they must yawn. Think of the success of the Mir stations and the Soyuz capsules. Now that the cold war is over and the US has better interests being Russias friends than competitors, they should really put NASA's efforts and money behind the Russian space program. Its time to let go of the "It has to be all american" idea, and go with whats efficient and works.

I believe the money that is spent at NASA can support many more and much bigger space programs if other countries are let in in the proper capitalistic spirit. A lot has NOT happened in the last 30 years.

Venus? (2, Funny)

seanmeister (156224) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976224)

But I thought the Venera probe crashed in Wyoming [sixmillion...site.co.uk] ?

In Soviet Russia... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7976225)

In Soviet Russia, image data from Venus revitalizes YOU.

Mars boring by comparison (3, Interesting)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976603)

I'd really like to see Venusian landers operating again. Venus is IMHO a much more interesting place than Mars, if only because we can't properly see it without actually going there. And yet it's so close (relatively speaking). Those few pictures that came from the Venera probes are soo tantalising, you just want to reach through, grab the camera and tilt it up.

Sure, it might be a very hostile environment, and not being able to get a good look at possible landing sites is a bit of a bugger, but I'm sure if the old Venera peoples were to use thier experience and modern materials & ideas that they could get a lander on the planet with better (and sustainable) capabilities.

There's no chance of recognisable life on Venus of course, but that doesn't mean there isn't life there at all - bacteria can be quite happy in extreme environments.

Mars is cool and all, but really.. rock, another rock, bit of red dust, rock, oh look a crater. Been there, done that, move on.

Re:Mars boring by comparison (1)

BlueEyes_Austin (738940) | more than 10 years ago | (#7979560)

Actually, we have excellent radar-generated maps from the US Magellan mission, one of the most successful planetary probes ever launched.

Re:Mars boring by comparison (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 10 years ago | (#7985820)

NASA is actually considering a new Venus mission, perhaps with a lander. It's one of the missions topics that they've suggested and are taking proposals for right now. I know someone who is actually working on proposing just such a mission. So there is hope :-)

Hey! Why Isn't the Sky Blue?!? (1)

Royster (16042) | more than 10 years ago | (#7978349)

It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

Obligatory... (1)

weeboo0104 (644849) | more than 10 years ago | (#7979241)

In Soviet Russia, Venus revitalizes YOUR image!
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