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I remember reading this in the 1980s, it may have been published much earlier. A space probe penetrates the clouds of Venus, but returns with an infectious fungus-like organism which proliferates wildly. It's thought that there must be other organisms which feed on this one, so a team of astronauts are sent to determine what these are and bring one back as a control. While doing so, they become infected with the fungus. They discover a possible control organism and in desperation, expose themselves to it which cures them, leading to a successful mission.

There was a series of books with the same lead character. In one of these, it was discovered that the moon had become destabilised and would crash into the Earth. A retired scientist built an anti-gravity device, but was at first reluctant. He was persuaded because he did not want his cat to perish. In another, a lone astronaut travels further out into the solar system than anyone previously and hears "voices" on his radio which cause him to go mad. The same "voices" save the lead character when he and his companions are possessed by the spirits of extinct Martians, who are vulnerable to them.

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Is this the Chris Godfrey of U.N.E.X.A. series (1960-1979) by Hugh Walters...?

The plot you described in the first paragraph matches that of the fifth book in the series, Expedition Venus (1962).

An unmanned probe returning from Venus has crashed in a tropical jungle. A spore on board has germinated and the Earth is fast becoming covered in a grey mould, that chokes the life out of anything it touches.

The only solution is to send Chris, Morrey, Serge and Tony, and a scientist, Pierre, on a mission to Venus to attempt to find something that will destroy the fungus. Work on the Venus probe, being built on the new permanently manned moonbase, Lunaville, is accelerated and the launch is ahead of schedule. However, the plan to skim through the Venusian atmosphere to pick up samples fails and a landing has to be made! As the ship sinks into the Venusian surface, all fuel reserves are needed to take off again. The crew are heading for Earth - but will have no fuel left to decelerate when they arrive......

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  • Yes that's the one thanks! I recognize some of the others from the series now.
    – Batperson
    Mar 17, 2023 at 4:58

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