Assuming you send two landers to Venus that have an expected "surface life" of, say, 8 hours.

The second lander arrives four hours after the first, parks up 100 yards away and trains a video camera onto the first whilst streaming everything back to Earth.

What would it look like to see the first lander slowly being crushed by, to the naked eye, nothing?

Like something out of a sci-fi movie?

edit: Wikipedia states that Venus' atmospheric pressure at the surface is about 93 bar (93 times Earths' atmospheric pressure at sea level), which it says is like being roughly 900 meters below the surface of the ocean.

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    $\begingroup$ I dont think its the crushing that gets them anymore so much as the being boiled in acid part. well till the acid compromises their structural integrity I suppose. $\endgroup$
    – anon
    Aug 27, 2018 at 12:09
  • $\begingroup$ +1 Now I can't stop thinking about this! So I've asked a follow-up question: When did planetary scientists realize Venus' surface pressure was almost 100x that on Earth? How did they find out? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 28, 2018 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ There is a much cheaper way to watch something crushed by a pressure of 93 bar, use a high pressure test chamber or place it at 930 m depth into the ocean. Dont be surprised if crushing is not slow but fast. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Aug 28, 2018 at 16:14
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    $\begingroup$ The expected surface life of 8 hours is not caused by the high pressure, the reason is the very high temperature of Venus. Venus probes were build to insulate the electronics from the heat and absorb some heat by melting chemicals. But these measures will only slow down destruction by the heat but could not prevent it. There are some submarines build to resist sucessfully a much higher pressure than 93 bar. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Aug 28, 2018 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


A lander is unlikely to get crushed. At the end of the expected surface life, the cooling system fails/runs out and the interior will start to heat up, which will cook the electronics. Seals will fail and Venus atmosphere will flow into the lander, equalizing pressure.

If it were to get crushed, it'd look like this:

imploded tanker car

This is a rail car on Earth that's imploded because the pressure inside was too low. It will not under any circumstance be crushed to nothing. The solids in the lander will not take up less space under 100 bar pressure, an implosion will only affect the gas-filled spaces inside.

A probe that's not strong enough to withstand the pressure, will get crushed (or spring a leak) on the way down. If it makes it to the surface, it's likely strong enough to stand up to the pressure until corrosion weakens the pressure vessel.

If a pressure vessel gets crushed, it's usually not a slow process. Instead, it's an almost instantaneous collapse.

  • $\begingroup$ If memory serves though, some of the earlier missions did implode because they didn't know how much pressure the venusian atmosphere had. $\endgroup$
    – anon
    Aug 27, 2018 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ The earliest Veneras didn't make it to the surface, but we don't know for sure what happened to end their mission. Could still be a failing seal rather than collapse. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Aug 27, 2018 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ Turn off your GIF blocker and check this out! i.stack.imgur.com/6z4qX.gif I used it here but I'm not sure the original source is there now. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 28, 2018 at 14:38

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