Scientists surprised by new photos of Venus’ surface

A NASA probe has been busy photographing Venus, and the results show a clear view of the planet’s surface that could lead to important discoveries.

New photos by NASA’s Parker Solar Probe show a side to Venus that nobody has seen before.

The probe used its Wide-Field Imager (WISPR) to take photographs of the planet, which researches hope will lead to new scientific discoveries.

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe images of Venus’ surface | Credit: NASA

“Venus is the third brightest thing in the sky, but until recently we have not had much information on what the surface looked like because our view of it is blocked by a thick atmosphere,” lead researcher Brain Wood said.

Originally, scientists thought the WISPR photographs would pick up images of the dense clouds that cover Venus’ atmosphere, obscuring a view of the planet’s surface.

But the probe mission was much more successful than expected, capturing clear images through the cloud cover, and picking up a faint glow on Venus’ surface.

Scientists have determined that the glow is caused by heat radiating off the planet, which isn’t exactly hard to believe considering the planet’s surface temperature sits at around 460 degrees celsius.

The photos picked up by the Parker Solar Probe match the surface features picked up on radar images taken by NASA’s Magellan mission in the early ’90s.

Magellan mission solar images of Venus | Credit: NASA

This mission couldn’t have come at a better time, because apparently we could be moving to Venus soon, and we’re not too crash-hot on the idea considering the lack of knowledge about the planet.