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Magellan

By Marty McDowell/NASA

On May 4, 1989, the United States launched Magellan. The Magellan spacecraft, named after the sixteenth-century Portuguese explorer whose expedition first circumnavigated the Earth, arrived at Venus on August 10, 1990. Magellan collected radar images of 98 percent of the planet's surface, with resolution 10 times better than that of the earlier Soviet Venera 15 and 16 missions.

Altimetry and radiometry data also measured the surface topography and electrical characteristics. The spacecraft made a dramatic conclusion to its highly successful mission when it was commanded to plunge into the planet's dense atmosphere Tuesday, October 11,1994 to gain data on the planet's atmosphere and on the performance of the spacecraft as it descended.

Source: NASA.

 

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Space References (Books):
Dickinson, Terence. Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe. Firefly Books, 1998.
Greene, Brian. Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. Vintage, 2000.
Hawking, Stephen. Illustrated Brief History of Time, Updated and Expanded Edition. Bantam, 1996.
Hawking, Stephen. Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe. New Millenium, 2002.
Hawking, Stephen. The Universe in a Nutshell. Bantam, 2001.
Kaku, Michio. Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps and the Tenth Dimension.
Kranz, Gene. Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond. Berkley Pub Group, 2001.
Sagan, Carl; Druyan, Ann. Comet, Revised Edition. Ballantine, 1997
Sagan, Carl. Cosmos, Reissue Edition. Ballantine, 1993
Sagan, Carl. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. Ballantine, 1997

Space References (Videos):
Cosmos. PBS, 2000.
Stephen Hawking's Universe. PBS, 1997.
Hyperspace. BBC, 2002.
Life Beyond Earth PBS, 1999.
The Planets
. BBC, 1999.
Understanding The Universe. A&E, 1996.

 

SPACE SPECS

This global view of the surface of Venus is centered at 0 degrees east longitude.

Courtesy of NASA

Launched: May 4, 1989

Destination: Venus

Arrival: August 10, 1990

Return: N/A

Nation: U.S.

Mission: Orbit and mapping


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