European Space Agency (ESA)’s Venus Explorer spacecraft captured the best evidence for active volcanism on planet Venus.
Venus has an extremely thick atmosphere which blocking out a spacecraft’s view of its surface. Yet, Shalygin and his team are stunned with Venus Explorer’s efforts in attaining the new set of findings, which have revealed a particularly interesting hotspot.
Scientists are now speculating that at least four spots on the surface maybe home to magma spouts (volcanoes). While the average planetary temperature is nearly 900 degrees Fahrenheit, the report from the spacecraft shows that some places on the planet may reach temperature higher than 1500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dr Eugene Shalygin, lead study author, of Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany clarifies, “We have now seen several events where a spot on the surface suddenly gets much hotter, and then cools down again.”
Dr. Shalygin goes on to say, “These four hotspots are located in what are known from radar imagery to be tectonic rift zones, but this is the first time we have detected that they are hot and changing in temperature from day to day. It is the most tantalising evidence yet for active volcanism.”
This new data provides evidence that Venus is one of the few planets of our solar system which is home to an active volcano system.
Still, Dr. Shalygin notes, “We don’t really know exactly what’s happening, because the spatial resolution of the images we’re getting is blurred by the overlying clouds, to 50-100km pixel size.”
Certainly, as ESA scientist Håkan Svedhem said, “It looks like we can finally include Venus in the small club of volcanically active Solar System bodies.”