Venus is a “Russian planet” and the Kremlin is sending probes to find aliens on its 465C surface, the Russian space chief has said.
Dmitri Rogozin, head of Roscosmos space agency, announced the plans after British and American scientists found possible signs of life in the planet’s clouds.
He said: “We believe that Venus is a Russian planet.
“Our country was the first and only one to successfully land on Venus.
“The spacecraft gathered information about the planet – it is like hell over there.”
He added probes will be sent to Venus “without involving wide international cooperation” at the 2020 HeliRussia exhibition.
This week, Nasa said it is considering two missions to Venus but it appears Russia wants to beat it to the punch.
Soviet Venera probes made landings between 1970 and 1982 on the surface of Venus, the second planet from the Sun.
Nasa’s sole landing came in 1978 when an atmospheric probe hit the surface and sent back data for an hour.
The Kremlin claims to have collected a treasure trove of evidence that suggests that objects on the Venusian surface have moved or could be alive.
But this has not been proven and British and American scientists this week revealed they had detected phosphine gas, a sign of life, in Venus’s atmosphere.
The discovery raises the possibility that organisms could exist on the second planet from the sun.
A statement from the Kremlin-backed space agency said: “The enormous gap between the Soviet Union and its competitors in the investigation of Venus contributed to the fact that the United States called Venus a Soviet planet.”
Roscosmos said they would study the soil and atmosphere of the planet as well as the “evolutionary processes of Venus, which allegedly suffered a climatic catastrophe associated with the greenhouse effect.”
Russian media said the separate “national independent project” would be on top of the already planned joint Russian-US Venera-D mission.
Meanwhile, the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner-backed Breakthrough Initiatives program has now said it will fund a study “into the possibility of primitive life” in Venus’ clouds.
It is to be led by Sara Seager from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It comes after the agency announced that the United States had refused to buy a seat on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to deliver an astronaut to the International Space Station in the spring of 2021.
NASA said it had wanted to send its specialists into space both on the new manned spacecraft from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and on Russian ships in a “barter format”.