On the second planet from the Sun – believed to be dead Venus – signs of volcanic activity were found. The discovery was made by researchers studying data sent by NASA’s Magellan spacecraft back in the early 1990s.
As noted in an article published by scientists, the discovery is based on changes in the vent near one of the largest volcanoes on the planet – Mount Maat. As Space notes, scientists already knew that volcanoes erupted on Venus millions of years ago, but there was no evidence that volcanic activity still exists before.
“The place where we made the discovery is the most likely place where there should be new volcanism,” said Robert Herrick, a researcher from the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska.
There are over 1600 major volcanoes on Venus and almost a million smaller ones.
Scientists believe that eruptions on Venus are not as catastrophic as on Earth and occur at least several times a year, forming the surface of the planet.
In pictures taken in 1991, eight months apart, scientists noticed that the volcanic vent had increased from 2 to about 4 square kilometers.
The shape of the vent also changed: in the first image it was round, but in the second it was kidney-shaped with a dark interior, which, according to Herrick, indicates “a volcano erupting on the surface of Venus.” He added that the dark part of the vent is probably a lava lake that fills the vent to the brim.
The scientists who studied the photos suggest that the high pressure and temperature on Venus makes the bench more fluid and it flows longer than on Earth.
Herrick also expressed his belief that there are many more active volcanoes on Venus waiting to be discovered.
The Magellan spacecraft arrived at Venus in 1990 and took photographs from orbit for two years. During this time, the apparatus returned to the same places every eight months.
Although the Magellan images are 30 years old, Herrick explains that only now have scientists been able to work with data in an interactive mode, like Google Earth, when large amounts of data are loaded into systems and then the images taken by the device can be zoomed in and out.
It is known that by the end of the decade, NASA intends to launch the first of several studying missions to Venus.
In the 2030s, several spacecraft will visit Earth’s neighbor, including VERITAS and NASA’s DAVINCI and Europe’s EnVision.
VERITAS and EnVision are expected to peer into the planet’s thick atmosphere from orbit, while DAVINCI is expected to send an atmospheric probe into the clouds of Venus.
DAVINCI is scheduled to launch in 2029, VERITAS is scheduled to launch between 2032 and 2034, and EnVision will take off between 2035 and 2039.
Earlier, GLOBAL HAPPENINGS also talked about how and why Venus turned into Earth’s hellish twin.
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