Scientists, for the first time, have observed geological evidence of recent volcanic activity on Venus, one of the great neighbors of the Earth. The discovery was made after a fairly thorough examination of radar images captured by the Magallanes mission of the POT in the 1990s.
Launched in May 1989, this probe became the first of its kind to image nearly the entire surface of Earth. Venus (like 98%) using a radar.
The spacecraft no longer exists since it crashed into the planet in 1994, but approximately 1,200 GB of data—more than all of NASA’s previous planetary missions combined—was transmitted before impact., and that information is proving useful to this day. You just have to see the pictures.
All this stems from the curiosity of researchers currently participating in NASA’s VERITAS mission. It will study Venus from crust to core and collect data to reveal how this planet is related to Earth. This will be the first ship sent to space NASA to explore Venus in more than three decades.
An active volcano on Venus thanks to images from 1990
With this in mind, the researchers decided to delve into what this new planet has in store for them, finding in the process a CD-ROM containing data files taken from Magellan to study the planet’s volcanic activity.
“I really didn’t expect to be successful, but after about 200 hours of manually comparing images from different Magellan orbits, I saw two images of the same region taken eight months apart that showed telltale geological changes caused by an eruption.”said Robert Herrick, a member of the VERITAS science team.
The region now identified was long thought to be volcanically active, but there was no clear evidence of recent activity. While examining the radar imagesthis identified a volcanic vent associated with Maat Mons that changed significantly between February and October 1991.
“The most likely scenario is that volcanic activity occurred on the surface of Venus during the Magellan mission”Hensley said. “While this is just one data point for an entire planet, it confirms that there is modern geological activity.”Add.
Apart from the mission VERITAS, these studies will be complemented by EnVision, an ESA (European Space Agency) mission to Venus scheduled to launch in the early 2030s. space it will carry its own synthetic aperture radar (called VenSAR).