Science: Venus Observed

I can tell from here...what the inhabitants of Venus are like; they resemble the Moors of Granada; a small, black people, burned by the sun, full of wit and fire, always in love, writing verse, fond of music, arranging festivals, dances and tournaments every day.

—Bernard de Fontenelle, 1686

After reconnoitering cloud-covered Venus with eight separate unmanned spacecraft—three American and five Russian, including two Soviet landing vehicles—scientists are now certain that De Fontenelle's Eden is, in fact, more like Dante's Inferno. Its surface temperature is a hellish 900° F. Its atmosphere, consisting largely of carbon dioxide, is at least 90 times as thick...

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