Using the latest data from space probe Magellan, a master astronomy writer gives a detailed portrait of our ""sister planet."" With intense heat, crushing pressure, and dense carbon dioxide clouds, Venus is no vacation spot, except perhaps for sulphur-breathing creatures made of diamond; but its existence does prompt intriguing questions about how Earth and Venus, nearly the same size and formed at the same time of the same primordial matter, could be so different. In exploring Venus's surface features, magnetism (none), and atmosphere, Branley ties together information on tectonic plates, Earth's core and mantle, and the use of radar for mapping to show why science is such a fascinating puzzle. One cavil: A color-enhanced ""map"" of Venus is included with no information on the extent of the area it covers, where north is, whether it's a projection, etc. Essentially the same information but more detailed than Simon's Venus (1992). Color photos, drawings, and computer images; spacecraft chronology; table of comparative Earth/Venus statistics; further reading; index.