Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Craggy Rock On Venus

I have watched with great excitement how the Mars Exploration Rovers have explored the red planet. However, Venus, while it has had more successful landers on its surface, was the subject of much less capable spacecraft. There are four color image sets of the surface, all with blank or nearly blank blue channels. Venera 13 sent back one full pan in color, which is the best set we have, and another partial one (complete in black and white) that hs much poorer color data. Venera 14, which landed in a much rockier area, took a pretty good partial color pan (again, complete in black and white), but while the other pan was complete in both black and white and through color filters (althoug again the blue was almost useless), the color data in this set was horribly underexposed. Below is the Venera 14 partial pan, my favorite of the set because of the cool rock right near the lander. It seems to be sitting on the rocky plain...it makes one wonder how it got there. I don't see anything else like it in the Venera pans, although given their limited coverage, it doesnt mean there aren't perhaps a few more rocks like it around. But still , it is lucky it was so close to the lander and in a color zone.

Here is the other Venera 14 pan. The color data is OK on the sides, but in the center, all color data is nearly blank, making any color variations dubious in that part of the image.

Here is a composite of Venera 13 images, looking towards a ridge on the horizon.

1 comment:

Michael Carroll said...

HI Ted! Bill Hartmann once told me that the "cool rock" in the Venera 14 pan was likely tipped up during landing. Circumstantial evidence points to a possible bounce during landing (not sure how they get that), and you can see more of the dust-settling effect at the edge of one of the pans. So interesting to wonder about these ancient missions! Michael Carroll