Check Out The First Images Of Venus’s Active Volcano
Scientists have known for a while that there is or has been active volcanic activity on Venus. That said, it’s been awhile since we had the evidence to say for sure that it’s still going on.
Recently, scientists took a look at old data from the retired Magellan spacecraft and found enough cool information to publish a new study in Science.
What they saw in photos taken two months apart in the 90s revealed a circular volcanic vent visibly shifting in size and shape. The caldera, located in the Atla Regio region of the planet, widened from 0.8 square miles in area to over 1.5 square miles, then collapsed into an irregular form as the magma withdrew.
Robert Herrick, the study’s lead author and a planetary scientist, talked with Science about the findings.
“We can rule out that it’s a dying planet.”
Venus isn’t at all easy to observe, which is why the planet’s geological status has been hotly-debated over the past several decades. With surface temperatures that top 800 degrees and a heavy atmosphere, there’s just no simple way to get a good look on a regular basis.
Even the footage they found made things difficult. There were just a few usable images over the course of five years, and with the changing angles, it was difficult to make sure they were actually observing the same space from one to the other.
Their findings reveal that Venus is one of only three planets in our solar system with active volcanoes, and researchers hope there are more chances to observe and even retrieve data from the planet soon.
Venus is similar enough to Earth that experts believe there’s much it could tell us about our own history – one of which could be the ket to unlocking a better future.
You just never know.
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