Parker Solar Probe captures Images of Venus Surface

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe took its first visible light images of surface of Venus from space.

Highlights

  • Surface of Venus is usually shrouded from sight, covered in thick clouds. But in two recent flybys, Parker Solar Probe used its Wide-Field Imager (WISPR) to image the entire nightside in wavelengths of visible spectrum.
  • It was a type of light that human eye can see and extend into near-infrared.
  • The images were combined into a video, revealing a faint glow from the surface, which highlights distinctive features such as continental regions, plateaus and plains.
  • A luminescent halo of oxygen can also be witnessed around the planet, in the atmosphere.

Significance of the images

Such images of Earth’s twin would help scientists in learning more about surface geology of Venus, minerals which might be present there, and its evolution.

First WISPR images of Venus

The first WISPR images were taken in July 2020, when Parker embarked on its third flyby. Spacecraft uses the third flyby to bend its orbit closer to the Sun.

About WISPR

WISPR Stands for ‘Wireless Internet Service Provider roaming’. It is a draft protocol submitted to Wi-Fi Alliance, allowing users to roam between wireless internet service providers in a manner similar to that allowing cell phone users to roam between carriers. A RADIUS server is used for authenticating the credentials of subscriber.

Why was WISPR designed?

WISPR was designed to see faint features in wind and solar atmosphere. Some scientists also thought they would be able to use WISPR to image the cloud over Venus as Parker passed it. But WISPR saw through to the surface of Venus, instead of just clouds.

Parker Solar Probe

Parker Solar Probe is a NASA space probe. It was launched in 2018 with the objective of making observations of outer corona of the Sun.

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