New Infrared Map of Venus Suggests Past Tectonic Activity

Venus's southern hemisphere A new infrared map of Venus’s southern hemisphere suggests that Venus may have been tectonically active at one point — oceans, volcanic activity and continents included. The map was compiled from more than a thousand images from an instrument on the European Space Agency’s Venus Express probe, and reveal regions where the surface emits heat at different wavelengths — an indication that they’re made up of different materials than the surrounding basalt. “The new map shows that the rocks on the Phoebe and Alpha Regio plateaus are lighter in color and look old compared to the majority of the planet. On Earth, such light-colored rocks are usually granite and form continents.” Via Astronomy and Universe Today. (Image credit: ESA/VIRTIS/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESIA)