She's alive!

    The Morning (aka Evening) star and the closest relative of the Earth, the planet Venus, reveals obvious signs of life. From a geological point of view. Convincing evidence of the planet’s volcanic activity was provided by Venus Express, the apparatus of the European Space Agency (ESA), which entered the planet’s orbit in April 2006.


    The geological history of Venus has long been a mystery, depriving sleep of seasoned planetologists, and iron messengers, bravely sparkling rectangular ears in the sun, only flirty half-hints indicated the existence of this phenomenon. However, not all of them were so useless - the results of current observations were combined with the topological data obtained by the Nassovsky Magellan in 1990-94.

    What is the batch?



    The fact is that there are not enough craters on the surface of Venus. Not enough when compared with other similar bodies in the solar system. Something smoothes the surface of the planet, as if a lollipop licked itself, eliminating the tenacious irregularities of its short-lived body. Now that it is known that lava flows squeezed onto the surface are responsible for this, the question arises of what is the intensity of the phenomenon. Observations indicate an unhurried sequence of small eruptions against the opinion of volcanic catalysis, which is rapidly changing the face of the planet.


    How do they know that?



    VIRTIS, an optical and infrared spectrometer mounted onboard the Venus Express, measured the level of infrared radiation emitted from different parts of the planet’s surface and found that some regions were noticeably brighter than others. The difference in temperature (= intensity of infrared radiation) is explained by the difference in the chemical composition of the surface. Here, on Earth, erupted lava flows interact with oxygen and other elements in the atmosphere that change the chemical composition of these flows. On Venus, the process seems to be similar, but differs in rampant fury due to the hotter and denser atmosphere, consisting mainly of carbon dioxide.

    It is estimated that eruptions occurred on Venus about 2.5 million years ago (an insignificant period on the scale of geology!), Or even completely earlier.

    As indicated above, the volcanic orgasms of the planet are not so frequent - the process is going on gradually, properly, with the arrangement, in the old way. But what if planetologists are wrong? There are also quite intriguing assumptions that Venus could still cover itself with thick layers of volcanic mayonnaise in a very short time, but they require that the internal structure of Venus be very different from the earth. If the volcanic activity of the planet is more moderate, as most believe, this means that the inside of Venus is consistent with the earth.

    So what?


    Of course, after methane snow on Titan or a hexagon vortex at the pole of Saturn, information about the volcanic activity on Venus may not seem so interesting, and the changes occurring on its surface are not so effective, but this is yet another evidence of the close relationship of the planets, and if the search for extraterrestrial life has not yet yielded results, then at the planetary level (and every planet has a soul!), we can observe signs of similarity to something of our own, native.

    Where the woods come from


    The basis for the written are articles from the ESA and NASA portals

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