Land rovers easily move along the Red planet, while the dozens of astronauts have visited the Moon. But still our Solar System has many mysteries with pending answers…
1. Venus South Pole
A huge vortex formation near Venus South Pole resembles a storm cloud, but without rain and lightening. Its diameter is 1800 km and height is 18 km; it is located 41 km above the surface of the planet. In 2013 scientists discovered that there is not one, but two vortexes with separate centers of rotation situated on different heights. They permanently disconnect and connect, even due to the calculations of scientists they should have been merged into a single whole long time ago. A version exists that this behavior is related to the specific features of the atmosphere of the planet that rotates 60 times faster than Venus itself. However, an accurate link between both phenomenons is not yet established.
2. Mysterious Iapetus
Automatic interplanetary station ‘Cassini’ that became the first artificial satellite of Saturn in 2004 has found on Iapetus a majestic ridge with the height of 18 km (to compare, the mountain of Everest is approximately two times low). This ridge stretches along the equator of Saturn moon. According to one of the theories, mysterious Iapetus earlier had its own ring that settled down as a mountain ridge. Other researchers suppose that the ridge was formed as a result of the collision between a satellite and an asteroid that caused seismic activity.
3. ‘Spider’ on Mercury
An odd formation was photographed in 2008 by the spacecraft ‘Messenger’ flying close to the smallest planet of the Solar System. It is a system of troughs originating from the general center in the middle of the plain of Heat. These troughs stretch for hundreds kilometers. Strange formation was called ‘Pantheon Fossae’ in the name of a similar structure of the Rome Pantheon’s dome. Also, scientists nickname it ‘the Spider’. Causes of formation of mysterious structure on Mercury are unknown. Scientists suppose that the troughs could have been formed as a result of specific volcanic activity on the planet.
4. Ugly Miranda
The NASA has named the fifth biggest moon of Uranus ‘the Frankenstein’s monster’. Miranda is like made of different pieces that are not compatible with each other. Ridges and hollows lay between these pieces, some of which are 12 times deeper than the famous Grand Canyon. According to one of the theories, Miranda was once split by a giant asteroid; however its pieces did not fall apart, but were drawn to each other having created a shapeless formation.
5. Mysterious stains on Uranus
In 2006 with the use of telescopes ‘Hubble’ and ‘Keck’ a dark stain on Uranus was discovered. Similar stains were found earlier on Neptune. Most likely, they are the vortexes in the atmosphere of these ice giants, but their exact origin is not known. Five years ago astronomers noticed another stain, white one, 10 times lighter than the visible atmosphere of the planet. It turned out that it is located close to the dark stain that forms a pair. An answer to the reasons of formation of twin stains on the planet possibly could be received from a space probe sent to Uranus.
6. Geysers of Ceres
Ceres is the biggest asteroid and the largest dwarf planet of the Solar System. The water reserves are larger there than all the rivers and lakes on Earth. Giant steam jets were observed with the use of a telescope ‘Herschel’; they are thrown out to the open space by the dwarf planet. Geysers were found in the dark regions of the planet. According to the theory, in these places Ceres especially actively absorbs the sunlight: ice quickly turns to steam that comes outside. Other scientists suppose the presence of volcanic activity on the biggest asteroid.
7. Structure of Mercury
Structure of Mercury is one of the biggest mysteries of space. Diameter of its solid core comprises more than half of the diameter of the planet that is proportionally five times larger than similar Earth parameters. It is believed that the upper layers were removed during the collision with an asteroid, or they were moved into the external areas of the Solar System by the Sun during the first stages of formation of the planet.
8. Ashen light of Venus
Slight light seen on the unlighted side of Venus during the phase of half moon was first discovered in 1643. Since then it was observed many times, however it did not get any satisfactory explanation. Due to the one of the versions, ashen light is caused by the atmosphere electricity of the planet: frequent lightening covers Venus heaven. However the spacecraft ‘Cassini’, passing by the planet was not able to find high frequency noise that should have been triggered by lightening.
9. Volcanoes of Io
Enormous gravity of Jupiter pulls Io to the one side, while other satellites of gas giant to the other side. As a result of influence of these tidal forces on Io enormous volcanic activity emerges that is stronger than any other object of the Solar System. Some volcanoes throw away jets of lava 375 km above the space of the satellite of Jupiter. However the location of these volcanoes raises serious issues for scientists: it differs drastically from the theoretically calculated parameters of the tidal forces influencing Io. It means that the theoretical models are wrong. For example, Io can turn faster than astronomers believe.
Chaotic reliefs or just chaos is a notion in the space geology. It is used for description of odd structures on the surface of planets and satellites: random mix of cracks, plateaus, mountain ridges, etc. Similar structures were found on Mars and Europa, the satellite of Jupiter. The biggest chaos of Mars with diameter 714 km is named ‘Chaos of Aurora’. These are the giant plateaus divided by the canyons. One of the versions of origin of this chaos is the release of the large amount of water resources coming from under the surface of the planet. It is confirmed by the fact that many beds of the dry Martian rivers begin in the areas of chaos. But the cause of such water release remains mystery.
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