The Soviet Union was the first country on Earth to land a spacecraft on another planet, and the first to transmit data back home. In December 1970, the probe Venera 7 crash-landed on Venus and, for just a few minutes, sent back historic information -- such as temperature (an astounding 887 degrees Fahrenheit or 475 degrees Celsius), atmospheric pressure (92 bar) and wind speed (5.6 mph or 9 km/h).
The unmanned Venera 7 launched from present-day Kazakhstan and successfully left Earth's orbit to embark on a four-month interplanetary voyage. A parachute was supposed to slow its fall to the surface of Venus, but the chute collapsed during descent, resulting in a 29-minute free-fall. The craft appeared to stop sending signals after the crash, but about 23 minutes of data were later discovered.
Uncovering some of Venus' secrets: