Recently, NASA Magellan spacecraft captured images of Venus’ surface from different orbits. A few locations, including those suspected to have volcanic activity, were observed two or three times over two years.
- Venus the second planet from the sun, is the hottest and brightest planet in the solar system.
- Venus is highly visible from Earth due to its reflective clouds.
- Venus and Earth are often called twins because they are similar in size, mass, density, composition and gravity.
- With respect to other planets, Venus and Uranus spin backwards which means for these two planets, the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.
What are the findings of the Magellan spacecraft?
- A 2.2 square kilometre volcanic vent on Venus changed shape in eight months, indicating volcanic activity.
- It showed signs of drained lava, hinting at activity and eight months later, 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, Venus’s second-highest volcano.
- 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.
Key facts about the Magellan spacecraft
- It was one of the most successful deep space missions of NASA.
- It was the first spacecraft to image the entire surface of Venus and made several discoveries about the planet.
Q1) What is Earth's equator?
An equator is an imaginary line around the middle of a planet or other celestial body. It is halfway between the north pole and the south pole, at 0 degrees latitude. An equator divides the planet into a northern hemisphere and a southern hemisphere.