This new and beautifully illustrated account of Venus takes in the most recent research into this mysterious, inhospitable world. Looking at the history of our observations of the planet, from early astronomy to future space missions, it seeks to answer many of the questions that remain unanswered, such as why Venus and Earth, so similar in size and mass, evolved in such different directions, and how Venus acquired its dense carbon-dioxide atmosphere. Above all, it assesses whether life might have escaped from the oven-like temperatures at the surface and evolved to become perpetually airborne – in which case Venus may not be lifeless after all.
William Sheehan is a noted historian of astronomy, writer and retired psychiatrist. He has written 20 books including Jupiter (with Thomas Hockey), Mercury and Saturn for Reaktion Books. He lives in Arizona, and asteroid 16037 is named Sheehan in his honour.
Sanjay Shridhar Limaye is based at the University of Wisconsin and has investigated the Venusian atmosphere with Pioneer Venus, Venus Express and Akatsuki missions.
"The planet Venus, whose motion in the sky inspired religious traditions dating back 5,000 years to the Sumerians, and whose stark, fiery surface and acidic, choking atmosphere have been opened to our view by spacecraft since the 1960s, stubbornly clings to many of its secrets to this day. Sheehan and Limaye engage the reader in the continuing saga of our exploration of the planet closest to Earth with historical erudition and scientific expertise."
– Dale P. Cruikshank, planetary scientist
"Sheehan and Limaye's timely book Venus is an enjoyable, easy-to-read review of everything related to our planetary neighbour. It is packed with facts and stories through history, from ancient times to today's latest discoveries from spacecraft and modern telescopes. With the many new missions to appear in the late 2020s and early 2030s, this book provides a solid background and will be enjoyed equally well by scientists and the interested public."
– Håkan Svedhem, Venus Express Project Scientist, ESA