When you think of the Venus’ volcanoes, you might think of erupting lava.
But that’s not the case, said lead scientist and graduate student in the Virtual Environment Research Group, Peter J. Pankratz.
Instead, Pankrats virtual reality project aims to capture a new type of phenomenon that happens in Venus’ volcanic vents: “the watery venting of magma.”
Pankrats team has created a virtual reality video that shows what happens when the water is released from the vents of volcanoes and flows onto the surface of Venus.
In this case, the water does the work by forming a thick layer of lava that is seen in the image above.
“It’s like when you have a river flowing on the surface, the lava flows and forms a channel.
That channel gets fed into a volcano, and it eventually becomes the lava river that you see on Venus,” Pankar told Phys.org.
“So, the idea is that the water from the lava stream, and the magma flows out to the surface.”
It’s an idea that Pankrts team is excited to be bringing to the virtual world.
Venus’ large volcanic vents are known to produce large quantities of magmas.
“There’s been a lot of interest in the lava streams in Venus because we don’t see them as a big feature on Earth,” Panka told Phys, “because they don’t produce anything like that.”
But this lava stream phenomenon does occur on Earth.
The lava flows occur when the vents erupt, but they are not as widespread on Venus.
Panka said they are less visible in the video, but he believes that’s because the vents are much closer together.
“Venus has about 100 vents that erupt, and they erupt in the same way that on Earth, so it’s the same phenomenon that occurs,” Panks said.
“Venus does have vents that produce a lot more magma, but it’s a little bit of a mystery why we don.
The water from these venting magmas that are ejected out to our planet, they are all very different in their behavior.”
Venus is home to about a third of the planets surface and is considered one of the most active planets in our solar system.
This makes it a great candidate for exploring and studying these giant vents, Panka added.
“What we’re doing is trying to do what we can with these volcanoes that erupt and the water that’s released into the atmosphere, to understand the behavior of the magmas and how it behaves.”
For Pankraks project, he and his team have partnered with the University of Southern California to create a virtual environment that allows users to explore and experience the lava venting on Venus through a 3d camera.
The researchers are working to create more realistic 3D images of these vents, so that they can be captured in a similar way to what happens on Earth to capture water from a stream on land.
Pankratts team has also partnered with a number of other organizations to bring the idea to life in the virtual reality space.
“We’re hoping that this will be a great way to see the volcanic activity in the sky on Venus, and we hope to bring it to other environments in the future,” Pika said.
Venus’ volcanic venting happens in many places and different seasons, and Pankriks team hopes to create similar images to see it all from different vantage points.
The team is currently working on making a new VR video for the Venus volcanoes.