Dear Vega: The forgotten Soviet mission that flew around Venus
Thirty-four years ago this June, tiny balloons soared through our sister planet's skies—the only aircraft we've ever flown on another world.
Dear Vega 1 and 2,
I’m sorry that I forgot about you again. The other night, after not thinking about you for a long time, I woke up from a dream in which I imagined your stately balloons hovering through the yellow clouds of Venus, peering down at the sweltering surface below. You are the only robotic missions to ever fly aloft on another planet, and yet few people on Earth have probably heard of you. Even those who have, like me, often fail to recall your accomplishments. I sometimes think it’s funny what we remember and what we forget.
You each launched in December 1984, a few months after my birth, your double mission a joint venture between the Soviet Union