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Venus Found to Be Far More Volcanically Active Than Previously Thought, Say Scientists

Venus Found to Be Far More Volcanically Active Than Previously Thought, Say Scientists

Recent scientific findings have unveiled that Venus, our closest planetary neighbor, is significantly more volcanically active than previously believed. This discovery is reshaping our understanding of Venus’ geological dynamics and its similarities to Earth.

Discovery of Recent Volcanic Activity

Researchers have found compelling evidence of ongoing volcanic activity on Venus, using data from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft, which orbited the planet in the early 1990s. The analysis focused on radar images showing changes in a volcanic vent near Maat Mons, Venus’ tallest volcano. Over an eight-month period, the vent’s shape and size altered dramatically, suggesting active lava flows and geological processes​.

Implications of the Findings

The findings, published in the journal Science, highlight that Venus is not a dormant planet but one with active geological processes. The identified volcanic activity is the first direct evidence of such events on Venus, positioning it alongside Earth and Jupiter’s moon Io as celestial bodies with active magma volcanoes​.

Technological Advances in Research

The breakthrough was made possible by advancements in technology that allowed scientists to re-examine the decades-old Magellan data with fresh perspectives. The analysis revealed that one volcanic vent had nearly doubled in size, filled with lava, and changed shape over the observed period, indicating a significant eruption​​.

Future Missions to Venus

These discoveries underscore the importance of future missions to Venus. NASA’s upcoming VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) mission aims to provide high-resolution maps of Venus’ surface and understand its geologic history. The European Space Agency’s EnVision mission, set for the early 2030s, will also play a crucial role in exploring Venus’ geological activity and atmosphere​.

Venus as Earth’s Twin

Venus, often called Earth’s twin due to its similar size and composition, differs drastically in its surface conditions. With surface temperatures nearing 500°C and a thick, toxic atmosphere, Venus presents an extreme environment compared to Earth’s habitable conditions. However, studying Venus can offer valuable insights into planetary evolution and climate change, potentially shedding light on Earth’s future​​.


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