In seven years, an Emirati spacecraft will blast toward Venus, heading for the asteroid belt – a grand mission announced on Tuesday.
Through the mission, the UAE aims to collect scientific data that can help humanity gain a deeper understanding of how the solar system formed.
The expedition’s Emirati spacecraft will make its first planetary approach to Venus in mid-2028, followed by a short orbit in mid-2029. It will then fly past a main object in the asteroid belt for the first time in 2030.
So, what makes Venus – which some call “the Morning Star” – special and unique?
1. Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system
The temperature can reach 425 degrees Celsius, which is enough to melt lead
2. It is called Earth’s sister planet
With a radius of 6,052 kilometers, Venus is slightly smaller than Earth with a radius of 6,378 km. Due to the similarity in mass and size, they are described as ‘sisters’
3. Of all the planets in the solar system, Venus has the longest day
A day on Venus equals 243 Earth days – although a year on the planet is about 223 Earth days
4. On this planet the sun rises in the west and sets in the east
5. The sunlight takes six minutes to reach the planet
6. Venus is the brightest natural object in the sky after the moon
7. It has more than 1600 volcanoes
That’s more than the number of volcanoes on any other planet in the solar system. However, most of these volcanoes are dormant
8. Venus orbits in the opposite direction to Earth and most other planets in the solar system
9. Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty
It is the only planet named after a female figure.
10. Wind speed on Venus can reach a blistering 725 km per hour
This is faster than the fastest tornado on Earth, scientists say.