NASA finds out the secret of Venus! | Tech News

NASA finds out the secret of Venus!

NASA scientists used data from the agency's Magellan mission to study the heat flow in the coronae regions of Venus. Here's what they found.

| Updated on: Feb 25 2023, 20:36 IST
Best NASA Astronomy Pictures of the week: Double Galaxy Cluster, Comet ZTF and more
1/5 Double Star Cluster (Feb 20) - It is a 100-million-year-old globular star cluster located 160,000 light-years away in the constellation Dorado. What’s unusual about this star cluster is its size and shape is reminiscent of the other ancient star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy. However, this double star cluster is not present in our galaxy and belongs in the Large Magellanic Cloud. (NASA/ESA/Hubble/Paul Goudfrooij(STScI))
2/5 Comet ZTF (Feb 21) - It is a mesmerizing picture of Comet ZTF streaking across the skies over Yosemite Falls located in the Sierra Nevada region of California. According to NASA, this comet was discovered by astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility in 2022 in March last year. (NASA/Tara Mostofi)
3/5 Rising Solar Activity (Feb 22) - This picture is a snapshot of the rising activity on the surface of the Sun. This image was captured two weeks ago in a single colour of light known as Hydrogen Alpha. Solar prominences can be observed hurling out from the surface while the Sun’s edges are brighter due to increased absorption of relatively cool solar gas. (NASA/Mehmet Ergun)
4/5 Spiral Galaxy Arp 78 (Feb 23) - A peculiar spiral galaxy called Arp 78 can be seen in this image. It is an enormous galaxy which spans nearly 200,000 light-years across and exists almost 100 million light-years away in the constellation Aries. Arp 78 is also known as NGC 772. Alongside Arp 78, another faint galaxy can be seen, which is NGC 770.  (NASA/Josep Drudis)
5/5 Headphone Nebula Jones-Emberson 1 (Feb 24) - A stellar nebula known as Jones-Emberson 1 also called as the Headphone Nebula owing to its peculiar headphone-like shape. The Headphone Nebula is located about 1600 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Lynx. (NASA/Serge Brunier/Jean-Francois Bax/David Vernet/ C2PU/OCA)
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How does Venus lose its heat? Does it have an impact on the surface of the planet? Know what the study has found. (NASA)

How does the Earth lose its heat? NASA explained that the Earth's hot core heats the mantle which then transports the heat to the lithosphere, the outermost solid layer of rock. The heat is subsequently released into space, cooling the uppermost portion of the mantle. This circulation of the mantle, known as mantle convection, is responsible for driving tectonic processes on the surface and keeping the plates in motion. But the heat flow mechanism of Venus has been a mystery so far. The absence of tectonic plates on Venus has resulted in persistent questions in planetary science regarding how the planet loses its heat and what processes shape its surface.

A recent study has analyzed archival NASA data and suggests that Venus might be releasing heat due to geologic activity in areas known as coronae, which is similar to the early tectonic activity on Earth. The research has used three-decade-old data from NASA's Magellan mission with a new perspective. Here's what the study says about Venus.

How Venus' heat transmission mechanism works

While using the observations of the Magellan spacecraft made in the early 1990s of quasi-circular geological features coronae on Venus, the researchers figured out that “coronae tend to be located where the planet's lithosphere is at its thinnest and most active.”

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So far, scientists used to believe that the lithosphere of Venus is stagnant and thick. NASA further explained that similar to how a thin sheet releases more body heat than a thick one, a thin lithosphere permits more heat to exit the planet's interior through buoyant plumes of molten rock. Usually, elevated heat flow results in amplified volcanic activity beneath the surface. Therefore, coronae possibly expose sites where active geology is currently influencing the surface of Venus.

According to this new research, the lithosphere encompassing each corona is about 7 miles (11 kilometers) thick on average, which is significantly thinner than prior estimates. These areas exhibit a higher estimated heat flow in comparison to the Earth, which indicates that coronae are actively experiencing geological processes.

Also, NASA said in a blog that "the youthful appearance of Venus' surface is likely due to volcanic activity, which drives regional resurfacing today." Moreover, this recent discovery of augmented heat flow in coronae regions supports the idea that Earth's lithosphere may have exhibited a comparable state in the past, NASA said.

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First Published Date: 25 Feb, 20:35 IST