How Do Computers Project the Composition of Planets?

Advancing capabilities and new technology has made the correlation between radar and computers much stronger. Radar is one of the best tools available to assist in the viewing of planets and atmosphere that humans cannot actually see from our place on earth. Imaging radar is what is actually used when trying to view planets and other elements in space that we are unable to see with our eyes from our places here on earth.

Imaging radar works pretty similar to the way a flash on a camera works. It offers its own light for the purpose of illuminating a defined area and taking a picture. The radar, however, rather than taking a picture snapshot, captures an image at radio wavelengths. A flash on a camera operates by sending out a pulse of light, which is the flash, and records the image on film through the light projected, which is then reflected back at the camera through the lens. In place of a camera lens and film, imaging radar uses an antenna along with digital computer tapes to record its images. When a radar image is taken, the image you get back allows you to see only the light that was reflected back towards the radar antenna.

The job of the computer is to then transfer this data it receives from the antennae of the imaging radar into an image we can make sense of. One example of a planet scientists have been able to learn about through imaging radar and computers is Venus.

Until very recent, the planet of Venus was completely surrounded by clouds, making it impossible for any sort of technology to get a clear image of anything close to the surface. But since all the advancements there have been in the technology available, scientists were finally able to find something that allowed them to see through the thick, dark wall of clouds. Scientist have learned that Venus seems to be a fairly young planet, and could possibly have been resurfaced anywhere between 300 to 500 million years ago. They have also learned that Venus is completely covered by tons of craters ranging in sizes. They have also learned that at least 85% of Venus’s surface is covered by volcanoes or volcanic material. Without the advances in technology there have been over the years, these findings would never have been possible. If we have gotten this far, imagine what there will be to learn in the future.

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