Venus is a Russian planet, Russia’s space agency chief declares

The head of Russia’s government space agency has claimed that planet Venus is a “Russian planet.”

The bold territorial claim comes on the heels of scientific research suggesting life could exist on Earth’s celestial neighbor, the second planet from the sun.

Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, who’s known for espousing unconventional scientific views said this week that Russia wants to send its own mission to Venus, in addition to an already-proposed joint venture with the United States called “Venera-D.”

“We think that Venus is a Russian planet, so we shouldn’t lag behind,” Rogozin, a former deputy prime minister, told reporters on Tuesday. He noted that the Soviet Union was “the first and the only one” to land a spacecraft on Venus.

“The spacecraft gathered information about the planet — it is like hell over there,” he said in remarks quoted by the Tass news agency.

On Monday, British and American scientists’ discovery of phosphine gas in the clouds around Venus, considered a potential sign of life on the planet.

The atmosphere of Venus is made up almost entirely of carbon dioxide, and it’s considered the hottest planet in our solar system.

The new study renewed public interest in Venus, likely prompting the Roscosmos chief to remind the world of the former Soviet Union’s achievements in early space exploration.