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Venus is the second planet from the sun and the sixth largest Venus orbit is the most nearly circular of that of any planet with an eccentricity of less than 1 Venus orbit is 108200000 km Its diameter is 121036 km and its mass is 4869e24 kg Venus which means Aphrodite in Greek is the goddess of love and beauty The planet was probably named that because it is the brightest of the planets known to the ancients Most the surface features on Venus are named for female figures Venus has been known since prehistoric times It is the brightest object in the sky except for the Sun and the Moon It was popularly thought to be two separate bodies Eosphorus as the morning star and Hesperus as the evening star but the Greek astronomers knew better Since Venus is an inferior planet it shows phases when viewed with a telescope from the perspective of Earth The first spacecraft to visit Venus was Mariner 2 in 1962 It has been visted by many others since than more than 20 so far including Pioneer Venus and the Soviet Venera 7 the first spacecraft to land on another planet and Venera 9 which returned the first photographs of the surface Most recently the US spacecraft Mgellan produced detailed maps of Venus surface using radar Venus rotation is kind of unusual it is both very slow 243 Earth days per Venus day a little longer than a Venus year and retrograde All so the periods of Venus rotation and of its orbit are synchronized so that it always presents the same face toward Earth when the two planets are at their closest approach Venus is sometimes regarded as Earths sister planet In some ways they are very similar Venus is only slightly smaller than Earth 95 of Earths diameter 80 of Earths mass Both have few craters indicating their
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