Experts Reveal the Secrets of Planet Venus Can Be ‘Ageless’

CNN Indonesia

Monday, 06 Mar 2023 02:49 WIB

Illustration. Venus turns out to have a soft planet surface. (REUTERS/NASA)

Jakarta, CNNIndonesia

The latest research takes advantage data Magellan’s plane unravels hypothesis the latest about the planet Venus. Experts suspect that the planet has a squishy lithosphere that makes it look ‘youthful’.

The lithosphere is the layer of rock that forms the skin, aka the widest layer of a planet. The Earth’s lithosphere has a fragmented and dynamic appearance, which divides into several tectonic plates and forms the Earth’s surface.

On the planet Venus, the lithosphere is smooth which makes the cooling and coating mechanisms of the planet mysterious.

Launch ScienceAlert, experts suspect Venus has a soft lithosphere and regularly comes back to the surface. The hypothesis was made based on data collected by the Magellan spacecraft.

Experts have published the results of their research in the journal Nature under the title Earth-like lithospheric thickness and heat flow on Venus consistent with active rifting.

“Here, we estimate elastic lithosphere thickness at 75 locations on Venus using topographical flexure at 65 coronas, generated from Magellan altimetry data,” he writes.

“We found that the average thickness of the corona is at 7-11 km. This thickness means that the average heat flow is 101±88mWm-2 higher than the Earth average, but similar to terrestrial values ​​in areas where the actively expanding,” he wrote.

The data itself has been collected decades ago using radar technology. This technology is used because Venus has a very thick atmosphere and is often showered with acid rain.

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These two things keep the temperature on Venus maintained at 475 degrees Celsius. As a result, the explorer vehicle will not live long if it is lowered there.

The study was led by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory geophysicist Suzanne Smrekar. He and his team used Magellan’s data to study the volcanic surface, called the corona, and the trenches and mountains around it.

They found that, where the ridges are closer to each other, the lithosphere may be quite thin and flexible, averaging about 11 kilometers (7 miles).

Modeling results show that the heat that flows through the surface appears to be higher at those points than the average heat flow on Earth.

“For a long time, we have been fixated on the idea that the lithosphere of Venus is stagnant and thick. But our view has now changed,” said Smrekar.

“Venus doesn’t have tectonics like Earth, this thin lithosphere area seems to release large amounts of heat, similar to areas where new tectonic plates form on Earth’s ocean floor,” he said again.

The corona on Venus looks a bit like an impact crater and consists of raised rings around a concave center with concentric fissures radiating outward. The size can be very wide, namely hundreds of kilometers.

Initially, experts suspected that the corona was a crater. Deeper analysis revealed that the corona is actually volcanic in nature, which is a lump of hot liquid material escaping from the interior of Venus.

The blob then pushes its surface up into a dome which then collapses inward as it cools, leaking from the sides and forming a ring.

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In truth, impact craters are relatively few and far between on Venus, at least when compared to planets like Mars and Mercury.

This distinction has long been a puzzle. The more impact craters there are on a planet, the older its surface is. If a planet has only a few impact craters, it means something has wiped them out.

Venus’ surface is made up of 80 percent volcanic rock, which suggests a mechanism may have kept its interior in the outer past of the planet.

There are increasing indications that such volcanism is not just recent, but ongoing and keeps the surface of Venus young.


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