What Are 10 Facts About Venus?

NASA Solar System Exploration explains that Venus is the second-closest planet to the sun, orbiting at an average distance of 67 million miles. One year on Venus is equivalent to 225 Earth days; however, the planet's rotation takes 243 Earth days. So one Venus day actually equals 117 Earth days. The planet's atmosphere is primarily composed of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, while its clouds are made up of sulfuric acid.

Venus rotates in the opposite direction than Earth and most of the other planets, exhibiting a feature called retrograde rotation. Due to this rotation, the sun on Venus rises in the west and sets in the east. Astronomers have known about Venus since ancient times, and its name derives from the mythological Roman goddess of love and beauty. Of the five planets visible to ancient civilizations, Venus was the brightest.

The average surface temperature on Venus is 864 degrees Fahrenheit, although the temperature in the outer atmosphere can fall into negative temperatures. Because the planet does not exhibit a significant tilt, Venus does not have seasons that Earth and other planets undergo. NASA's probe Mariner 2 arrived at Venus in 1962, while the Soviet Union's Venera 7 reached Venus in 1970. Venera 7 was the first probe to land successfully on another planet. Due to the high temperatures, both probes melted within two hours of entering the atmosphere.