For anyone who was hoping to live on Venus in the near future, a new study makes it more unlikely than ever before. It has been known for some time that Venus is a country with temperatures averaging almost 500 degrees Celsius (900 F) and with clouds of pure sulphuric acid meaning that it was unlikely anyone would have ever chosen to live there. Yet now a new study has revealed that the volcanoes that are spread across the planet are not as dormant as once believed. A new study suggests that at least 37 of them are still active.
Venus is the second planet from the sun making it so incredibly hot that it will never be hospitable to human life. It is sometimes referred to as Earth’s sister due to the similar size and mass of the two planets. A single day on Venus (how long the planet takes to complete one rotation on its axis) would take 117 Earth days yet a year (one rotation of the sun) would take 225 Earth days. Venus is easy to spot in the night sky as it is the second brightest object that is visible with only the moon being brighter.
Venus is covered in volcanic craters. While Earth has a number of volcanoes too they are nothing compared to the size of those on Venus. Venus has massive craters because of the difference in atmospheric pressure on the planet. The atmospheric pressure on Venus is 92 times more than on Earth. In 2006, a spacecraft was sent to orbit around Venus to study the planet and lasted until 2015. The craft found that there were more than 1,000 volcanoes that were over 20km in size on the surface of the planet.
The largest volcano on Earth is Mauna Loa in Hawaii which rises 4 km above sea level. The average volcano on Venus is around twice the size of Mauna Loa and the largest volcano found on Venus had a diameter of around 2,000 km, named Artemis. This volcano which is potentially active is, therefore, larger than Italy.
This is relevant because it starts to paint a more detailed picture of the current activity on Venus and the geological evolution that is taking place. While we may not have plans to visit Venus we can certainly learn from it. The lead scientist on the study has said that as Venus shares a similar mass and size to Earth we can learn a lot from it. It is the most “Earth-like” planet in our solar system. If we can learn more about Venus we can potentially understand what makes Earth so habitable today while Venus is not.
This may be useful in determining the future of Earth and understanding when the country will become uninhabitable. Scientists believe that Venus was once a tropical paradise but that was likely millions of years ago. Today Venus is what many imagine hell to be like. It is hot and a wasteland with acid raining down from high. This could be what Earth will look like at some point in the future, although certainly not for a long, long time.
Now that these volcanoes have been charted the next step is to monitor their activity going forward. Scientists are confident that they are not as active as they once were and that the aggressive period is over. Yet these volcanoes will still likely have moments of volatility and it is important that these are studied and better understood. While Venus is going further down the list of potential holiday destinations it is only becoming more interesting to scientists who need to understand our world more.