Before anyone had seen the surface of Venus, ancient astronomers named the planet after the dangerous goddess of love and beauty. Now that we’ve seen the planet up close, the name still fits. It’s hard to imagine a planet more beautiful than Venus, with its thick clouds, a sky that ripples with lightning, and active volcanoes that cover more than three-quarters of the surface. Yet like the jealous goddess, the second planet from the sun demands respect. Those thick clouds, made of sulfuric acid, would burn your skin, and the atmosphere itself would poison you and crush you, as it has quickly crushed the spacecraft that began to land there in 1970. And if that isn’t dangerous enough, the planet’s surface temperature reaches about 900˚F—the hottest of any in the solar system.