Venus surface photos Venera 13
(Photo : Planetary Society / Twitter) The enhanced and colorized version of images from Venus' surface.

Space exploration is going well this 2020 and 2021, especially with the arrival of three Mars visitors: the Hope Mars orbiter from UAE, the Tianwen-1 rover from China, and the Perseverance land rover from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States, delivering their own images of Mars from space and the land.

But, back in the 1980s, a Russian lander was able to visit Venus, the second planet from the Sun, and took some shots of the planet's surface before it melted down.

Fact Checking Viral Image of Venus

The images acquired had been circulating online lately on Facebook and other social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, but it had a misleading caption saying that the images were "the only clear photo ever taken from the surface of Venus by Soviet spacecraft Venera 13."

Although an image was indeed taken by the Venera 13, the circulating photos were created by an American researcher, according to AFP.

Based on the report, Don P. Mitchell, the American researcher in question, enhanced the monochrome images that Venera 13 sent back to Earth when it landed on Venus, then the color was added sometime later by other internet users.

According to Mitchell, he combined raw imagery sent by the Soviet spacecraft using editing software.

"The Venera landers transmitted digital images with a depth of 9 bits and an approximately logarithmic encoding of photometric brightness," Mitchell wrote on his website. "The original Soviet versions of these images included a full panorama from clear-filter images, and color panoramas from the red, green and blue filter images. The signal to noise was poorer for the color images because they were much darker."

Read More: NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Landing: First Images Revealed, Red Planet's Sounds May Come Next

Probably an Inaccurate Colorized Version

Moreover, Mitchell said that the colorized version, although stunning and eerie, may have actually been inaccurate since it's impossible to know what the sky's color was as the clouds on the planet filter out blue light.

Nevertheless, images of the surface of Venus are indeed rare, especially since it's hard to land a rover in the area and allow it to stay on the ground for more than a few hours at a time, due to the heat in the planet caused by the trapped greenhouse gases.

The images captured by Venera 13 were taken on March 1, 1982

The lander was able to take a panoramic shot of the planet before subsequently melting due to the immense heat on the planet, as per LadBible.

Short Life on Venus

Russian scientists knew what they would be facing, so they have designed for the land rover to last only half an hour upon landing, which was successfully done after the lander was deployed from a parachute to enable it to land slowly to the surface.

Once it arrived on Venus, Venera 13 immediately took shots of the planet to send back to Earth and was even able to add some information about the planet's soil.

According to the report, Venera 13 was able to send a total of 14 colored panoramic photos and eight monochrome ones during its short life on Venus.

Related Article: UAE's Hope Mars Probe Captures Its First-Ever Breathtaking Image of Mars

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Written by: Nhx Tingson

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