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Unlocking the Secrets of Volcanic Iceland: NASA’s VERITAS Science Team Delves into a Fiery Wonderland

by Tech Desk
1 minutes read
Unlocking the Secrets of Volcanic Iceland: NASA’s VERITAS Science Team Delves into a Fiery Wonderland

Flying aboard DLR’s Dornier 228-212 aircraft at an altitude of approximately 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) above the ground, scientists from NASA’s VERITAS mission embarked on a unique expedition to study volcanic activity in Iceland. Equipped with synthetic aperture radar that collected data in S-band and X-band frequencies, the team aimed to refine algorithms that would help identify changes to the surface of Venus since the Magellan mission.

The synthetic aperture radar employed by the team operated at wavelengths of about 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) for S-band and approximately 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) for X-band. These shorter wavelengths allowed for precise observations of the surface of Venus, similar to those made in the early 1990s.

By observing Iceland’s surface using both S-band and X-band frequencies, researchers sought to detect changes that have occurred over the past four decades. This comprehensive analysis will enable them to identify key regions of geological activity on Venus, such as active volcanoes.

Aside from studying Venus, another significant objective was to create a library of volcanic surface textures found in Iceland. The team collected composition information using a camera that emulates the instrument known as Venus Emissivity Mapper (VEM). This data will contribute to the spectral library being developed at the Berlin Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory.

“The different features and surface characteristics observed on Venus are related to volcanic processes, which are connected to the planet’s interior,” explained Smrekar, one of the scientists involved in the campaign. “This data will be valuable not only for VERITAS but also for other missions like ESA’s EnVision mission and researchers interested in understanding radar observations of volcanic planetary surfaces.”

However, this two-week campaign held more significance than just scientific advancements; it provided an opportunity for team-building that will leave a lasting impact. Nunes highlighted how everyone worked together seamlessly: borrowing equipment, driving to study sitesand purchasing supplies. The spirit of collaboration was evident throughout the expedition.

The VERITAS mission, along with NASA’s DAVINCI mission (Deep Atmosphere Venus Imaging, Chemistry, and Noble Gas Investigation), was selected in 2021 as part of NASA’s Discovery Program. Collaborating with partners such as Lockheed Martin Space, the Italian Space Agency, the DLR, and the French National Center for Space Studies, VERITAS aims to uncover more about Venus’ mysteries. The Discovery Program is managed by NASA’s Planetary Mission Program Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

This remarkable campaign in Iceland not only advanced our understanding of Venus but also fostered a sense of teamwork among researchers. According to informed sources provided by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), this endeavor will have far-reaching implications for future missions to Venus and for those interested in studying volcanic planetary surfaces.

Source: (According to the source)(


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