Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets

Initial results from the Magellan stereo experiment


  • Franz W. Leberl,

  • John K. Thomas,

  • Kelly E. Maurice


The second global radar image coverage of Venus by Magellan included a 1 day experiment to produce a set of eight images along orbits that combined with the original nominal imagery into stereo image pairs suited for visual stereo interpretation and mapping of topographic elevations. Initial analysis shows excellent stereo radar data with good vertical exaggeration of six and more, parallax accuracies of ±0.6 pixels or ±45 m and a surface definition within ±30 m. The topographic relief can be very accentuated, with local elevation differences of 2.5 km and terrain slopes often in excess of 25°. This data set has proven the usefulness of global stereo coverage and marks the beginning of significant planetary stereo radargrammetric developments. Extensive mapping with this same stereo geometry is being carried out in cycle 3, and preparations are underway to develop a detailed stereo radargrammetric topographic model of the planet.