PIA18175: Magellan Orbit (Artist's Concept)
 Mission:  Magellan
 Spacecraft:  Magellan
 Product Size:  818 x 615 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  JPL
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA18175.tif (1.51 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA18175.jpg (84.03 kB)

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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.

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