The Big Blowup -- on Venus

New images from the Magellan probe suggest that the planet orbiting closest to Earth is alive with volcanoes

The surface of Venus has never seemed very hospitable. Temperatures hover around 470 degrees C (900 degrees F), the result of a runaway greenhouse effect, and the pressure of its atmosphere, thick with carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid, is some 90 times that of Earth's. Lead would flow like water on Venus, and water cannot have existed in liquid form for perhaps a billion years.

Now NASA's Magellan spacecraft seems to have found one more horror in the nasty landscape: active volcanoes. Last week the space agency released the first detailed map of Venus and the most spectacular images ever made...

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