Venera 13

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Venera 69
Venera 13 orbiter.gif
Venera 13 orbiter
Operator USSR
Mission type Flyby and Lander
Launch date 30 October 1981 at 06:04:00 UTC
Launch vehicle Proton Booster Plus Upper Stage and Escape Stages
Flyby date 1 March 1982
Satellite of Venus
COSPAR ID 1981-106A
Mass 760 kg

Venera 13 (Russian: Венера-13 meaning Venus 13) was a probe in the Soviet Venera program for the exploration of Venus.

Venera 13 and 14 were identical spacecraft built to take advantage of the 1981 Venus launch opportunity and launched 5 days apart, Venera 13 on 30 October 1981 at 06:04:00 UTC and Venera 14 on 4 November 1981 at 05:31:00 UTC, both with an on-orbit dry mass of 760 kg.

Design[edit]

Each mission consisted of a cruise stage and an attached descent craft.

Cruise stage[edit]

As the cruise stage flew by Venus the bus acted as a data relay for the lander and then continued on into a heliocentric orbit. It was equipped with a gamma-ray spectrometer, UV grating monochromator, electron and proton spectrometers, gamma-ray burst detectors, solar wind plasma detectors, and two-frequency transmitters which made measurements before, during, and after the Venus flyby.

Descent lander[edit]

The descent lander was a hermetically-sealed pressure vessel, which contained most of the instrumentation and electronics, mounted on a ring-shaped landing platform and topped by an antenna. The design was similar to the earlier Venera 9–12 landers. It carried instruments to take chemical and isotopic measurements, monitor the spectrum of scattered sunlight, and record electric discharges during its descent phase through the Venusian atmosphere. The spacecraft utilized a camera system, an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, a screw drill and surface sampler, a dynamic penetrometer, and a seismometer to conduct investigations on the surface.

List of lander experiments and instruments:

Landing[edit]

After launch and a four month cruise to Venus the descent vehicle separated from the cruise stage and plunged into the Venusian atmosphere on 1 March 1982. After entering the atmosphere a parachute was deployed. At an altitude of about 50 km the parachute was released and simple airbraking was used the rest of the way to the surface.

Venera 13 landed at 7°30′S 303°00′E / 7.5°S 303°E / -7.5; 303, about 950 km northeast of Venera 14, just east of the eastern extension of an elevated region known as Phoebe Regio.[1]

The lander had cameras to take pictures of the ground and spring-loaded arms to measure the compressibility of the soil. The quartz camera windows were covered by lens caps which popped off after descent.[2][3]

The area was composed of bedrock outcrops surrounded by dark, fine-grained soil. After landing, an imaging panorama was started and a mechanical drilling arm reached to the surface and obtained a sample, which was deposited in a hermetically sealed chamber, maintained at 30 °C and a pressure of about 0.05 atmosphere (5 kPa). The composition of the sample determined by the X-ray fluorescence spectrometer put it in the class of weakly differentiated melanocratic alkaline gabbroids.

The lander survived for 127 minutes (the planned design life was 32 minutes) in an environment with a temperature of 457 °C (855 °F) and a pressure of 89 Earth atmospheres (9.0 MPa). The descent vehicle transmitted data to the bus, which acted as a data relay as it flew by Venus.

Venera 13 landing site - left Venera 13 landing site - right

Suggested photographic evidence of life[edit]

Leonid Ksanfomaliti of the Space Research Institute of Russia's Academy of Sciences (a contributor to the Venera mission) and Stan Karaszewski of Karas, in Solar System Research, suggests signs of life in the Venera images.[4] According to Ksanfomaliti, certain objects resembled a "disk", a "black flap" and a "scorpion" which "emerge, fluctuate and disappear", referring to their changing location on different photographs and traces on the ground.[5][6][7]

Ksanfomaliti's claim was refuted in a later issue of Solar System Research.[8] Video from the Venus landers was sent to Earth via two different radio systems. One of these used an encoded pulse-time modulation scheme, which results in images that, if they are not decoded, appear to be covered with bright patterns of speckles.

Fictional References[edit]

  • The Venera 13 lander appears in the short film Horses on Mars (2001) with a message to the main character who is a microbe lost on Venus.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NSSDC Master Catalog - Venera 13 Descent Craft". NASA National Science Data Center. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Dr Karl - Murphy's Law, Part two
  3. ^ Images available at http://www.donaldedavis.com/2003NEW/NEWSTUFF/DDVENUS.html
  4. ^ Solar System Research, 2012, 46(1)
  5. ^ "Russian Researcher Suggests Venera-13 Imaged Life on Venus | Space Exploration". Sci-News.com. 1982-03-01. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  6. ^ Space. "Russian scientist claims 1982 pictures shows 'life on Venus'". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  7. ^ "Scientists Move on from Mars, Say Venus Shows Signs of Life - International Business Times". Ibtimes.com. 2012-01-23. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  8. ^ Anomalies in Video Transmissions from Venera-13 Are Probably Not Life Forms, Solar System Research, 2012, 46(5)

External links[edit]