By XiaoZhi Lim
On the bleak, cratered surface of Mercury, temperatures can reach some 430 degrees Celsius in the daytime. Almost twice the distance away from the sun, Venus has a similar surface temperature of around 462 Celsius, thanks to an atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide.
“Everything that you send there has to work under these temperatures,” says Yuji Zhao, a materials scientist at Arizona State University. That includes electronic systems needed in instruments, sensors, and probes. While no mission has landed on Mercury’s surface to date, the longest-surviving probe that landed on Venus in 1982—the Soviet Union’s Venera 13—lasted only 127 minutes before failing. (In comparison, the Curiosity rover landed on Mars in 2012 and is still going strong.)
Continue reading at IEEE Spectrum. Originally published on March 11, 2019.