Venus may still have potential to host life, indicates new study
- The researchers have analysed radar images from Nasa’s Magellan mission to map the surface of Venus that showed large blocks of the lithosphere, which seemed to have moved.
A new research has indicated that Venus is still geologically active and may still have potential to host life. The researchers analysed the surface data of Venus, which they said showed evidence of tectonic movement that have pushed against each other.
The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, stated that the tectonic movements are not seen anywhere else in our solar system except on Earth's interior. Tectonics is the large-scale movement of plates that make up Earth's interior surface.
The researchers have analysed radar images from Nasa’s Magellan mission to map the surface of Venus that showed large blocks of the lithosphere, which seemed to have moved. The team created a computer model of the deformation and found that slow-motion was similar in style to tectonics on Earth. A new technology was able to spot surface deformations that indicated there were large block structures in Venus’ lithosphere.
"These observations tell us that interior motion is driving surface deformation on Venus, in a similar way to what happens on Earth. Plate tectonics on Earth are driven by convection in the mantle. The mantle is hot or cold in different places, it moves, and some of that motion transfers to Earth’s surface in the form of plate movement," lead author Paul Byrne, associate professor of planetary science at North Carolina State University said in a statement.
Though different from the Earth’s current plate tectonics, there exist heat currents and molten material inside Venus. According to the authors of the study, the tectonic movement identified in Venus resembles the Earth’s geology during the Archean Eon dating 2.5 to four billion years ago.
“We have identified a previously unrecognised pattern of tectonic deformation on Venus, one that is driven by interior motion just like on Earth. Although different from the tectonics we currently see on Earth, it is still evidence of interior motion being expressed at the planet’s surface,” Byrne added.