Venus: Maat Mons and Sappas Mons
David P. Anderson
Southern Methodist University

This picture of Maat Mons and Sappas Mons on the surface of Venus was generated for the Scientific American Library Series. The image was created from altimetry and radar data returned by the NASA Magellan mission to Venus. It has a vertical exaggeration of 20:1 in order to bring out topographic detail over this large shield volcano near the Venus equator. This is one frame from an animated fly-by that explores this equatorial region of the planet. Samples of the fly-by animations can be viewed in mpeg format here and here.

The surface detail was created in the Southern Methodist University Geophysical Imaging Laboratory using a technique developed at SMU for retrieving fine-scale topographic features from radar reflectivity. The color scheme is derived from the radar patterns and basaltic composition of the rocks. The clouds are computer generated to give a sense of size and depth. The obscuring haze was rendered in order to suggest the 900 degree temperatures common on the surface of Venus.