As head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, Rogozin certainly can’t be faulted for ambitious thinking – even if laying claim to an entire planet is taking things a bit far.
While attending an international helicopter exhibition in Moscow on Tuesday, the 56-year-old had been speaking in response to research suggesting that there could be primitive organisms living in the atmosphere of Venus when he made the claim that it was a ‘Russian planet’.
“Our country was the first and only one to successfully land on Venus,” he said. “The spacecraft gathered information about the planet – it is like hell over there.”
“Resuming Venus exploration is on our agenda. We think that Venus is a Russian planet, so we shouldn’t lag behind.”
Rogozin is certainly correct that Russia is the only nation to have ever successfully landed a spacecraft on the surface of Venus, a feat that necessitated several tries to get right.
On August 17th, 1970, Venera 7 became the first spacecraft to perform a soft landing on another world when it touched down on Venus. Venera 9 in 1975 was the first to return photos from the surface.
Exploration of Venus however proved so challenging that the Soviet’s eventually abandoned it.