Surface of Venus

Surface of Venus

 

The planet Venus is completely shrouded by dense, corrosive clouds, so its surface is hidden from view through telescopes. In 1990 NASA sent the Magellan spacecraft to orbit Venus, using a microwave radar system to image the surface height and shape. In this image, the height is shown in colours from purple (lowest) through blue, cyan, green and yellow to red (highest), brightness depends on the texture of the surface. Here the whole planet is shown as if the surface has been peeled like an orange. The northern hemisphere at left and the southern at right. A variety of features are seen - including large lava flows, impact craters and fault systems. Where no data was gathered by Magellan, radar data from Soviet Venera 15 and 16 missions are used, with a few gaps filled by data from the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.

Image © NASA/JPL/USGS

 

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