In 1974, NASA’s Mariner 10 space probe visited Venus. Famous photos from the past Reworked in 2020.
Mariner 10 flew less than 6,000 kilometers past Earth’s neighbor in early February 1974. Astronomers were surprised to see several visible details in the dense cloud cover. Based on these details, they were able to determine that the cloud cover circles the planet once every four days. This is sixty times faster than the rotation of the planet itself. Venus rotates on its axis at a speed of two meters per second. And what about land? Its rotation speed is 450 meters per second.
The recently re-edited image reveals more details. We owe this to the completely new image editing techniques implemented by scientists. By the way, we don’t see a surface in the picture, because Venus has a dense cloud cover. The clouds in the photo are 60 kilometers above the surface of the planet. It consists of sulfuric acid molecules. This – combined with towering air pressures of over 90 bar and surface temperatures over 400 degrees Celsius – makes Venus not a pleasant vacation destination after all.
In this satellite image of the week, you can see clouds with a reddish tint. This is because there is a mysterious substance hidden in these clouds that absorbs blue light. Astronomers still don’t know exactly what this substance is. Thus, Venus continues to keep secrets from us.
While Venus is an uninhabitable world today, it used to be different. Scientists believe that Venus has been a habitable planet for billions of years in a row, so living organisms may have once crawled onto the surface of the second planet in the solar system. We may never know, because the surface of Venus has been altered by large-scale volcanic eruptions over the past millions of years. So any traces of life are likely already gone. Fun fact: without Jupiter, Venus would be today It might be a habitable planet.
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