Welcome back!

Welcome back, Earthlings, to another exciting year of space! Get ready for some awesome planetary updates and some activities you- YES YOU- can get involved with!

Come back every Monday for a new blog segment!

Today, I'd like to talk about Venusian craters!

Venus is the hottest planet in our Solar System. With that power, the crust is almost like a plastic- it deforms, but we're not entirely sure if it is brittle enough to crack from an impact, like Earth. 

Turns out, there is a type of terrain on Venus- called tessera- that is the most deformed and cratered terrain on Venus. And it is surrounded by fresh, smooth lava plains. From this, geologists suggest that this terrain is considered the "oldest" of the Venusian geologic layering, and that more recent (at least in the last couple thousands of years!) volcanic activity would surround these terrains like islands. Another interesting thing to note about this terrain type is that it is usually found in the higher latitudes of Venus.

Two main features are currently puzzling planetary geologists: 

1) the craters do not show any ejecta and rarely a central peak, leading to the mystery of Venus' plastic-like crust

2)Most craters found in this terrain were followed by volcanic in-filling (or volcanic material slushing into the crater after impact). How much infilling and what type of material is still being explored. 

Dickinson Crater, Venus. Image credit: NASA/JPL

Dickinson Crater, Venus. Image credit: NASA/JPL

Figure: Magellan image centered at 74.6 degrees N, 177.3 E, Atalanta Region, Venus. The image is approximately 185 kilometers (115 miles) wide at the base and shows Dickinson, an impact crater 69 kilometers (43 miles) in diameter. Extensive radar-bright flows that emanate from the crater's eastern walls may represent large volumes of impact melt, or they may be the result of volcanic material released from the subsurface during the cratering event.

Thank you for reading and join us next week for a look at Sunspot Classification!

Caitlin Ahrens