What is the surface of Venus like?

The surface of Venus is a very hot and dry place. Most of the surface is made up of gently rolling plains. Venus has several large lowlands and two large highland areas which are about the size of Australia and South America. Venus has several mountains and volcanoes and much of its surface is covered with old lava flows. The highest mountain on Venus is Maxwell Montes. It is more than 7 miles high and is higher than Mt. Everest. Venus does not have many craters because most meteors burn up in its thick atmosphere, and many of the meteor craters which did exist have been covered by lava flows. The images above are computer generated views of the surface of Venus using information from radar maps of the surface. The atmosphere of Venus is too thick for us to see its surface, however, radar can pass through the thick atmosphere of Venus, allowing us to find out what the surface is like.


Learn about IRAS, the first infrared telescope launched into Earth's orbit!