While some scientists who struggle to uncover the mysteries of Venus focus their attention on the planet’s weather, hoping to discover possible signs of life, others delve into the secrets of the inhospitable world’s depths.
According to Universe Today, a team led by researchers from the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) now postulate that Venus may still harbor active volcanoes, which would make it the only such planet in our solar system to do so (beside Earth, of course).
While traces of volcanic activity were discovered on Venus back in the 1990s by NASA’s Magellan spacecraft, as the media outlet points out, the scientists, who examined how the planet’s lava flows would react to its atmosphere, were able to determine that "the lava flows observed on Venus were very young", thus leading the team to conclude that there should still be active volcanoes there.
Commenting on their findings which were published in Science Advances, study lead Justin Filiberto, staff scientist with the LPI, remarked that if the presence of volcanic activity on Venus is confirmed, the planet might become "a great place to visit to better understand the interiors of planets".
"For example, we could study how planets cool and why the Earth and Venus have active volcanism, but Mars does not", he explained. "Future missions should be able to see these flows and changes in the surface and provide concrete evidence of its activity".
Last year, the team also announced that Venus could never have hosted life as the planet was overflowing with lava rather than being covered in oceans in the past.