Venera 12

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The Venera 12 (Russian: Венера-12) was an USSR unmanned space mission to explore the planet Venus. Venera 12 was launched on 14 September, 1978 02:25:13 UTC. Separating from its flight platform on December 19, 1978, it entered the Venus atmosphere two days later at 11.2 km/s. During the descent, it employed aerodynamic braking followed by parachute braking and ending with atmospheric braking. It made a soft landing on the surface at 06:30 Moscow time on 21 December after a descent time of approximately 1 hour. The touchdown speed was 7-8 m/s. It transmitted data to the flight platform for 110 minutes after touchdown until the flight platform moved out of range. Identical instruments were carried on Venera 11 and 12.

The Venera 12 descent craft carried instruments designed to study the detailed chemical composition of the atmosphere, the nature of the clouds, and the thermal balance of the atmosphere. Among the instruments on board was a gas chromatograph to measure the composition of the Venus atmosphere, instruments to study scattered solar radiation and soil composition, and a device named Groza which was designed to measure atmospheric electrical discharges. Results reported included evidence of lightning and thunder, a high Ar36/Ar40 ratio, and the discovery of carbon monoxide at low altitudes. Both Venera 11 and Venera 12 had landers with two cameras, each designed for color imaging. Each failed to return images when the lens covers did not separate after landing due to a design flaw.

Venera 12 also carried solar wind detectors, ionosphere electron instruments and two gamma ray burst detectors - the Soviet-built KONUS and the French-built SIGNE 2. The SIGNE 2 detectors were simultaneously flown on Venera 12 and Prognoz 7 to allow triangulation of gamma ray sources. Venera 12 used its ultraviolet spectrometer to study Comet Bradfield on 13 February, 1980. The mission ended in April, 1980.

Previous mission:
Venera 11
Venera program Next mission:
Venera 13
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