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The Crater Farm
The Crater Farm (click to enlarge)

The Crater Farm
Date: 29 May 1991

In a Magellan image dubbed the "Crater Farm" we see the curious layering of volcanic activity and impact craters.

Three impact craters are displayed in this three-dimensional perspective view of the surface of Venus. The center of the image is located at approximately 27 degrees south latitude, 339 degrees east longitude in the northwestern portion of Lavinia Planitia.

What Scientists/Engineers Say About This Image:

"I remember when I first laid my eyes on a press release image from early on in the Magellan mission of an area informally called the 'Crater Farm.' I could see in that one image that there was something really strange about Venus. It still seems really strange now, even though this image is from the early 90s. The Crater Farm image shows these very pristine looking craters, super-imposed on a volcanic background that are not lapping up at all onto the edge of the craters.

At least in this one image there was all this luminous volcanic activity that somehow stopped while the planet got covered up with craters. Of course, that shouldn't be the history of a reasonable planet; that the volcanism should stop and the craters should keep going -- that is unless that planet has a weird history. I remember looking at that picture and thinking that there is something weird going on here and that it has important implications for the whole history of the planet, its climate, its atmosphere, its geology. And I still think that that is true. Venus sort of became a focus of a big part of my career -- figuring out what is weird about Venus as represented in that picture."

--David Grinspoon: Curator of Astrobiology, Denver Museum of Nature and Science

(Read More of what David Grinspoon has to say about this and other significant events by clicking here.)

Last Update: 2 Mar 2012 (AMB)

Credit: NASA/JPL

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Last Updated: 2 Mar 2012