Magellan Mission: Venus’ volcanoes may be active, show decades-old radar images

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Source: The post is based on the article “Venus’ volcanoes may be active, show decades-old radar images” published in Down To Earth on 19th March 2023

What is the News?

NASA Magellan spacecraft has captured images of Venus’ surface from different orbits. It found new evidence of active volcanoes on Venus.

What is the Magellan Mission?

NASA’s Magellan mission to Venus was one of the most successful deep space missions. 

It was the first spacecraft to image the entire surface of Venus and made several discoveries about the plane.

In 1994, communication with Magellan was lost when it was instructed to descend into the atmosphere of Venus to gather aerodynamic data. 

What did Magellan observe at Venus?

Magellan used radar to image Venus’ surface from different orbits. A few locations, including those suspected to have volcanic activity, were observed two or three times over two years.

The study found new evidence of active volcanoes on Venus. A 2.2 square kilometre volcanic vent on Venus changed shape in eight months, indicating volcanic activity.

It showed signs of drained lava, the radar images indicated that the same vent had doubled in size and the lava lake seemed to have reached the rim. The vent is associated with Maat Mons.

Note: Maat Mons is the highest volcano and second-highest mountain on Venus. It sits in the Atla Regio, a vast highland region near Venus’ equator. These changes were likely due to lava flow escaping the vent, hinting at a possible volcanic activity.

What are the upcoming missions to Venus?

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