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originally posted by: Aristotelian1
I'm researching our exploration of the planet Venus and there is something that doesn't make sense to me. Considering how hot NASA says Venus is, why didn't the parachutes that the probes used to land burn up when deployed? Thanks in advance.
The pressure of Venus' atmosphere at the surface is 90 atmospheres (about the same as the pressure at a depth of 1 km in Earth's oceans). It is composed mostly of carbon dioxide. There are several layers of clouds many kilometers thick composed of sulphuric acid.
Above the pressure hull was the 2-meter aerodynamic brake, used to slow descent, and the semi-directional helical antenna. Inside the antenna were parachutes and some atmospheric sensors, not intended for long duty on the hot surface... The vehicle landed on shock absorbers and a hollow toroidal crush pad.
When deceleration forces reached a predetermined level, parachute deployment began at an altitude of about 65 kilometers. A series of pilot, drogue, braking and main parachutes slowed the vehicle in easy stages, and the two halves of the spherical reentry pod were jettisoned. The vehicle spent about 20 minutes passing through the cloud layer.
Once through the clouds, there was no point in spending unnecessary time in the hot atmosphere. At an altitude of 50 kilometers, the parachutes were jettisoned, and the lander fell for 55 minutes, slowed only by the aerobrake. In the thick atmosphere, terminal velocity was 7 meters/sec at touchdown, equivalent to the impact of being dropped from 10 feet.