On 14 December 1962, NASA’s Mariner II passed within 35,000km of Venus, becoming the first spacecraft to successfully fly by another planet. From this historic voyage, we learned that Venus rotates in a counter direction to most planets in our solar system, has a high-pressure carbon dioxide atmosphere and continuous cool cloud cover. Thanks, Mariner II!
Whither Mariner II now? Endlessly circling the Sun, in a heliocentric orbit. Space debris: a serious problem for our immediate galaxy.
Click on the graphic for an expanded view.