PIA18175: Magellan Orbit (Artist's Concept)

Magellan Orbit (Artist’s Concept)


An artist's concept of the Magellan spacecraft making a radar map of Venus.

Magellan mapped 98 percent of Venus' surface at a resolution of 100 to 150 meters (about the length of a football or soccer field), using synthetic aperture radar, a technique that simulates the use of a much larger radar antenna. It found that 85 percent of the surface is covered with volcanic flows and showed evidence of tectonic movement, turbulent surface winds, lava channels and pancake-shaped domes. Magellan also produced high-resolution gravity data for 95 percent of the planet and tested a new maneuvering technique called aerobraking, using atmospheric drag to adjust its orbit.

The spacecraft was commanded to plunge into Venus' atmosphere in 1994 as part of a final experiment to gather atmospheric data.

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Venus
System Venus
Target Type Planet
Mission Magellan
Instrument Host Magellan
Host Type Orbiter
Extra Keywords Artwork, Atmosphere, Color, Map, Volcano
Acquisition Date
Release Date 1990-08-10
Date in Caption
Image Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18175
Identifier PIA18175