Goddess on the mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name
Is Venus dead? Maybe not.
First, a way cool picture:
[Click to hugely embiggen. Note (added February 11, 2012): the vertical scale is exaggerated by 30x to show features more clearly.]
That’s Idunn Mons, a mountain on Venus as radar mapped a few years back by the Magellan space probe. The color overlay is a brand spanking new thermal (temperature) map using an infrared detector on the European Venus Express probe, currently orbiting our sister planet. Red is warmer, and as you can see, Idunn appears to be trying to tell us something.
But what’s it saying? OK, here’s the back story: