Science: Venus Revisited

Venus has long been an irresistible target for Russian space scientists, who have sent at least nine unmanned probes arcing toward the cloud-shrouded planet —compared with only four sent by the U.S. Last week, as Venus moved into a favorable position once more (as it does every 18 months), the Soviets launched two more ships on the four-month, 230 million-mile journey.

Guarded as usual, the Russians said only that Venera 9 and 10 were a "new type of spacecraft" that would make scientific explorations of Venus and its environment. Western observers expected the ships to attempt soft landings on the scalding Venusian...

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